Friday, February 23, 2007

Kate Bush - The Dreaming

"Thriller" is less impressive now, isn't it? A video like this would never get made today.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

There are no more happy campers ‘cause there is nowhere left to camp.

The blog world seems to be doing just fine with its coverage of new music (referring specifically to the self-sufficiency it retains in keeping up on every bit of air exhaled by Klaxons, Arcade Fire and Lily Allen), so I’ll reserve this day for old news.

Anyone get a chance to watch Punk O Rama TV at the beginning of the decade? It was a half-hour show put on by Epitaph Records, consisting only of videos by the label’s bands, airing on an Anaheim public access channel every Saturday night/Sunday morning at 1:00am (conveniently beginning after SNL ended). If you had better things to do than watch public television on Saturday nights, you probably answered with a “no.” Either way, that show was how I first found out about Dennis Lyxzén projects Refused and The (International) Noise Conspiracy, and even through the latter’s awkward handshake with the mainstream, I’ve remained bizarrely obsessed with the man and his work.

93 Million Miles recorded only five songs between 1996 and 1997, spread over a seven-inch and a compilation for Simba Records (both of which, according to Interpunk, are limited to pressings of 1000). In 2003, Simba managed to put them all onto an EP, making the tracks slightly more accessible for batty Refused fans to access. I’d never physically seen this CD until a few days ago – amen for Amoeba’s San Francisco branch – and wound up simultaneously appalled and impressed by the extreme DIY nature of the recordings. A side project including Jon Brännström
and Dennis Lyxzén of Refused (just before Refused released the brilliant A Shape of Punk to Come), as well as bassist Jonas Eriksson (former Refused touring bassist, now of Brisco) and Anders Johansson of Saidiwas, the band marks in its liner notes that the songs were “recorded in a big studio for free by ourselves.” High five!

But aside from “This Party Sucks,” one of the two tracks available on Love is a Dog From Hell, this EP isn’t necessarily an essential, even for a massive fan of Refused and its members’ alternate projects. The sloppy first three tracks aren't much better than what would result from 16-year old emo kids rocking out in a garage; the vocals are a reminder that Lyxzén is a screamer and not a singer (see the Lost Patrol). The lyrics, though politically in line with those of Refused, are not nearly as sharply penned – “this fuckin’ system sucks/one day we will take it all” (of “Campsite Closed”) sums it up about so. Things start picking up a bit over the last couple of tracks, recorded earlier than the first three, and much of this is due to the energy of “This Party Sucks,” ambiguously written about the dullness of pretentious socialites and/or the repugnant political parties that we (don't get to) choose from. It's nothing if standing next to any track from The Shape of Punk to Come, but its hardcore energy is solid enough that with a bit of cleanup (and a bit of tea for Lyxzén's tired throat, it seems), it could almost pass for a piece of the Everlasting EP.

As far as quality goes, this likely isn't going to get much play past the first curious listen or two, though it does get increasingly catchy provided you've got decent headphones to minimize that tin can factor and pick up any of the few layers that are here. What 93 Million Miles does have going for it, as is the case with anything Dennis Lyxzén leads (save for Armed Love, natch) is its sense of urgency; these few songs feel like impulsive efforts that - despite less sophisticated lyrics than usual - take on unapologetically blunt approaches to social class hierarchies, rebellion against capitalism, and workers' woes. Per usual. This band won't see a prominent place in the history of punk rock, twenty years down the line, but for those who've followed Lyxzén's career and are dreading the next clean 'n shiny Rick Rubin-produced T(I)NC album, this EP may be a breath of fresh air. You know, provided you hadn't already gotten your hands on it in the last three years. Forgive the belated review.

Sample and buy [93 Million Miles]
Or, you know, just sample the album

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

...blame it on the rain.

Is this not an insane week for music news? In summary:

1. Britney Spears blah blah shaved head blah new tattoo blah blah REHAB!

2. Universal will be putting out a movie on Milli Vanilli, presumably a silent film.

3. YouTube viewable through a Nokia phone means that now you will be able to upload video through YouTube Mobile and watch it on the same phone you used to upload. No doubt this will replace journalism one day.

Tony Bennett won't be coming back for his heart any time soon...

Not to start the day on a negative note, but...well, I'm starting off on a negative note. This was in the news yesterday, and after the holiday weekend, it was a bit difficult to ignore.

I had the chance to visit San Francisco over the weekend, and when not eating a perfect cannoli at Stella Pastry on Columbus, or being offered pot by three different people at Haight-Ashbury’s Golden Gate Park, I got to stay in the Tenderloin district, which is nothing if not exciting. Not only did my first ten minutes of arrival time present me with one transvestite and two prostitutes, but instantly made apparent how prevalent homelessness is in San Francisco. According to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (noted in the San Francisco Chronicle), 2003 found an estimated 40 percent of San Francisco's homeless population to consist of chronic street-dwellers, while chronic street-dwellers comprised only 10 percent of the national homeless population by contrast. And yes, this is very visible and very apparent in San Francisco today, particularly in the Tenderloin district, up and down Market Street, through Golden Gate Park (essentially a campground), and Nob Hill.

I wound up buying the most recent edition of Street Sheet – a newspaper created by the Coalition on Homelessness, meant for homeless people to sell so that they can keep profits as an alternative to panhandling – and also learned exactly how the homeless are targeted as criminals. Jeremy Bearer-Friend wrote, in the publication’s Feb. 2007 edition, that sleeping in your car, camping out in a public park, or taking up sidewalk space can earn you misdemeanor or infraction charges, either landing you in jail or earning you a fine of anywhere from $50 to $500. Unpaid fines can lead to an arrest warrant, which makes exiting homelessness nearly impossible because of the criminal record it leads to.

Appalled at this point, I read through a second article on homeless families in the city, which stated that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (apparently a lusty alcoholic) has “only committed to 200 housing units at a rate affordable to San Francisco’s more than 2,000 homeless families." On the upside of things, the Care Not Cash act looks vaguely promising as a method of forced rehabilitation, provided forced rehabilitation is effective. Additionally, the Coalition on Homelessness is constantly accepting donations and pledges to keep its volunteer staff spreading the word of services and policies, all the while distributing 94% of its papers to homeless individuals for direct sale. It’s a start, and in a city as heartbreaking as San Francisco (amazing cannolis or no), a start is a worthwhile effort.

For more articles on homelessness in San Francisco, click here.

Make a donation to the Coalition on Homelessness or read more about the organization.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Rock and roll + the word of Christ...a bargain!

In their words...

THE 1st ANNUAL "REAL BOSS HOSS BLOW-OUT" IS READY TO DESTROY LOS ANGELES!! This will be held @ the world-famous Mr. T's Bowl and we will be hosting this marvelous weekend...2 NIGHTS!! 16 BANDS!! GREAT MUSIC!! CHEAP DRINKS!! GOOD FRIENDS!! NO LAME HIPSTERS OR SCENESTERS!! NO SCHOOL OR WORK ON MONDAY!!

Here are the details: FEB. 17, 2007-FEB. 18, 2007

5621 1/2 N. FIGUEROA STREET (at Ave. 57 – parking in the rear)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Nothing new, nothing new.

Well, this is nice. From the good folks at CMJ:

UMG Steps Up Copyright Effort
Story by: Kevin Kampwirth

In a speech delivered last Friday during the Grammy Foundation's Entertainment Law Initiative luncheon, Zach Horowitz, president of Universal Music Groupm (UMG), remarked that in the future UMG will actively pursue litigation against social networking sites and their parent companies if they infringe on copyrights held by UMG artists and their music. UMG recently sued News Corp.'s FOX (which owns MySpace) and Sony Pictures (which controls Grouper) on the grounds that the two are attempting to shield themselves behind their creator's rights stance in order to avoid liability for copyright infringement.

Horowitz stressed that getting the courts involved was not necessarily the answer to the myriad of current problems in the industry—most notably the unwarranted use of an artists' music—but litigation might even things out, so to speak, so that one side is able to gain a foothold in the battle. Horowitz remarked that record companies are fighting a losing battle. Despite the fact that more people are listening to music now than at any time in the past, he says they are competing against those who have "no need or desire to invest in the content they distribute, and no concern that those who create will stop creating if they aren't paid for their work."

This has been an ongoing issue for a few years now. The last idea makes sense, and I agree to a point, but (and I'm positive that this is a redundant argument you'll find anywhere else) there's also the great possibility that an inability to illegally post music will result in less music posted. Because legal music is expensive, and a good chunk of the people who actually like music don't make enough money to buy every album they want to hear. A lot of smaller acts have been entirely made by the internet - illegal MP3 postings and word of mouth have made it possible for small, independent acts to gain a supportive audience that buys tickets to their live shows, or spreads word to people who eventually do buy their albums. But Universal, a major, has reason to take issue with this because they don't have any unknowns to promote through the internet, and are presumably losing money on popular artists with known names and ironically low album sales. A possible solution (and yes, it's been said many times): stop signing artists that are only good for singles, and people will start buying full albums again. Besides, the average Top 40 radio station only has enough time to play about fifteen songs before a new hour begins and its track list repeats, so Universal should be thankful for all the free promotion that MySpace users are giving its artists. Nothing like a company complaining about all the money it's not making off someone else's art.

My 2 little asian flowers, i love you so (Valentine's Day Post #2)

If Seattle's good for anything (other than Cupcake Royale and giving you an excuse to never wash your car), its The Stranger. Every year, The Stranger allows readers to submit personalized messages that it posts in crevices throughout its Valentine's Day edition, and some of them are available for viewing online. Hey!

Wuv and such.

Aside from serving as a 24-hour public display of affection and offering loads of hideous, heart-shaped crap for sale, Valentine's Day allows people to share things like Hello Kitty greetings and quality love songs. Yesterday, An Aquarium Drunkard had the good sense to post a pre-Valentine's Day ode to Chet Baker (whose singing voice was just as luscious as his trumpet playing, and more so than his looks, once his drug habit claimed his teeth). Good ol' Chet's one of my favorite jazz singers, so he's included in the Valentine's Day package of songs I'm posting here. Included in the set:

Chet Baker - I Fall in Love Too Easily (Chet Baker Sings)

Billy Bragg - The Milkman of Human Kindness (Life's a Riot with Spy Vs Spy)

Tony Bennett - Sweet Lorraine (If I Ruled the World: Songs for the Jet Set)

And for my fellow single folk, a few words from the great Albert Camus, handsome master of language, from A Happy Death:

"Each time a woman passed him, Mersault waited for the glance that would permit him to consider himself still capable of playing the delicate and tender game of life. But healthy people have a natural skill in avoiding feverish eyes."

That is all. More later.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ideal Free Distribution - A Review.

If you dig deeply enough, you’ll find a wealth of music inspired by the past more convincingly than the groups that drop names for the sake of desirable genre placement (for one, claiming a Morrissey influence doesn’t rank you alongside the Smiths; it makes you one of the Killers, and there you’ll stay). British pop and garage rock from the 1960s spawned a fair number of imitations, and luckily for the spontaneous blend of lo-fi distortion and sunny energy they've always carried, most imitations of the genres fare better than those who mimic, say, the made-up glow of new wave.

Ideal Free Distribution is certainly sunny, though, and it’s a wonder, given that it took ten years for them to get an album out, despite initial plans for a much earlier release. Sparked in Benton, Kentucky by a core trio in 1997, they’re now a fresh octet, somewhat discovered by Robert Schneider of the Apples in Stereo, who mixed this self-titled debut. The record’s much better than what’s indicated by the album cover’s cheap text font, and is actually one of the sweeter listens available this side of 2007. Ideal Free Distribution claims to be influenced by all the usual 1960s culprits, but more than a likeness to the Kinks or Zombies, they bear semblance to a modern band influenced by the Kinks or Zombies.

Opener “Apples and Oranges” has a lazy, swinging Doors vibe – likely Marci Schneider’s mellowtron at work – but all sorts of recent influences take effect shortly thereafter. The happy-go-lucky bounce and midway psychedelic breakdown of “Saturday Drive” flow into the retro bossa nova tremble of “Tropic of Cancer” as if to retroactively follow Greg Ashley from a Gris Gris rock-out to a sexy Mirrors flutter. Likewise, “Someone’s Gonna Die” features more of the light-meathead vocal style used by the Brian Jonestown Massacre or BJM graduate Brian Glaze – this isn’t an insult so much as a way of defining the contrast between the modern American and the flamboyant Brit of forty years ago. “American Myth" transitioning into “Elegant Sunbeam” is like the waver between rock hallucination and forced restraint on Oneida’s The Wedding. But thinking back to 2005’s “Did I Die” and “Run Through My Hair” would be the unnecessary cap on an unnecessary list of comparable names, wouldn’t it?

Overall, this debut is quite nice – there’s a bit of an awkward lull after eighth track “Son of a Gun,” a generic ‘90s indie rock venture that (though more “rock” than anything else here) turns successive tracks into a collective downer, but the gorgeous, droning “Hit the North” brings the record’s tone back into a territory of consistent psychedelia, between the aggressive and the dreamy, a happy medium that sums up the album’s greater feel.

Check out their MySpace page for audio samples, buy the record here, or be the stingy bastard who downloads what's below:

Monday, February 12, 2007

Hey nail fungus, don't let the door hit you where the good lord split you.

1. Tony Bennett won two Grammy awards this evening. Hooray!

2. Tony Bennett did a brief set and a signing of his Duets album at the Westwood branch of Borders on Saturday. I was, in fact, in attendance, and in addition to confirming that he would be performing at the Greek later this year, he smiled politely when my mother informed him that his recent SNL appearance was "just great."

3. Anyone else notice how many camera shots there were of Carrie Underwood looking bored and blank in her seat at the Grammys?

4. Stereogum posted last night's clip of Ryan Seacrest shrinking below his usual 5'6"-ish mark. An awkward, awkward ending to an awkward, awkward interview question.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Stories like this restore my faith in people.

Stories like this make me want to stuff the world in a can and kick it down a hill.

That'll be the View, then.

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to see young Scots The View when they showed up at Spaceland in Silver Lake; they were gangly boys with too much hair who looked about five years younger than their 18-20 range, and their accents were a mess, just a mess. They didn't have enough material to bother with an encore, and they apologetically refused to drink with the audience because they were underage in the US. Sounds sweet, no?

Anyway, debut Hats off to the Buskers isn't yet out in the US and won't be until March, but it's been available in the UK since Jan. 22 and the group's on a world tour to give some of us our fill in the meantime. I've grown massively addicted to "Skag Trendy" (sung rather creatively by the painfully adorable Kieran Webster), and have additionally discovered this View fan site, which holds a full crop of demos from the band's album. Here are my two favorite tracks from the album, demo-style.

Tour Dates (copied from their site and retaining the European date format, 'cause I'm too lazy to change each date to an American style format) :

10.02.07 - Cardiff, Cardiff University
11.02.07 - Sheffield, Octagon
12.02.07 - Reading, Hexagon
14.02.07 - Nottingham, Rock City
15.02.07 - Liverpool, Liverpool University
16.02.07 - Southampton, Guildhall
18.02.07 - Cambridge, Corn Exchange
19.02.07 - Exeter, Exeter University
20.02.07 - Bristol, Academy
23.02.07 - London, Brixton Academy
24.02.07 - Colgone, Prime Club
25.02.07 - Berlin, Postbahnhof
26.02.07 - Munich, Atomic
03.03.07 - Brooklyn, NY, Luna Lounge
05.03.07 - Toronto, ON, Lee's Palace
07.03.07 - Chicago, IL, Schuba's
09.03.07 - Seattle, WA, Crocodile Cafe
11.03.07 - San Francisco, CA, Slim's
13.03.07 - Los Angeles, CA, Troubadour
20.03.07 - New York, NY, Bowery Ballroom
22.03.07 - Cambridge, MA, T.T. The Bears
11.04.07 - Aberdeen, Music Hall
12.04.07 - Glasgow, Barrowlands
13.04.07 - Newcastle, Academy
14.04.07 - Leeds, University
15.04.07 - Liverpool, Carling Academy
17.04.07 - Birmingham, Academy
18.04.07 - Bristol, Academy
19.04.07 - Southampton, Guild Hall
20.04.07 - Norwich, UEA
21.04.07 - London, Forum

Edit (2.13.07): According to Prefix, the boys are having trouble getting over the pond and have to postpone the North American part of their tour. Additionally, the US release of Hats Off to the Buskers is now being pushed back to May 8. Damn damn damn.

Promoting music, ten days after the fact.

So, amidst all the publicity given to the Stooges (new album! new album!) and Bloc Party (frowns here and there), a few quality releases got a bit overlooked in the last week or two. Let's have a look at releases of Jan. 30, yes?

Anticon released this solo debut LP from Chris Adams (of Hood) after a half-decade relationship by association with the label; in 2001, Hood had released Cold House, a collaboration with Anticon floaters Odd Nosdam, Why? and Doseone. According to Anticon's website, Adams had wanted to make a "one-off piece of music with the brief that it had to sound exactly like a pop band being frozen solid and then shattered into a million pieces." Thus, Bracken, a project he allegedly runs out of "a home studio located in the heart of Leeds' bustling crack district." This one actually reminds me a bit of Multi-Panel, quite pretty.

20-year old Zach Condon's follow-up to the gorgeous Gulag Orkestar of last year, which had earned a ton of hype that quickly died down. Unfortunate that the excitement was hushed, because this EP is just as beautiful (if not more so) than its full-length predecessor, what with the project being the lush work of an eight-piece band. Horns, ukelele, and a few polka-influenced beats make this the work of someone far more mature than the typical 20-year old. This was presumably not recorded in a crack district.

I'm a sucker for garage rock, and this is about the sloppiest, most cheaply produced, goddamned wonderful thing you can find on a respectable label like Birdman. Their first record, Fly, had been produced by lo-fi king Greg Ashley (of the Gris Gris), and this second record flows perfectly after the first, whether it's got the name behind it or not. "Shark Song" is a highlight. The Oakland band, to note, will be touring with fabulously glam labelmates the Nice Boys in the very near future. (Detailed Twang was nice enough to give this one a mention)

And of course:

Thursday, February 8, 2007

...bring a flask, 'cause all they've got are tea and Sour Patch Kids.

So, I was all ready to promote the Green Milk From the Planet Orange/Old Time Relijun show at The Smell (L.A.) this Saturday, when it occurred to me that the show is happening March 10 and not February 10. I am, in fact, a bit of an idiot.

However, I'm all about The Smell - the all-ages venue that is a rotting warehouse in a sketchy, smelly alley around the corner from Skid Row - and tomorrow night, there will be a show just as worthwhile as an Old Time Relijun performance. It's a benefit show to help pay the medical expenses of Mika Miko member Jessie Clavin (though zero internet sources will state what exactly this medical care is for...hmm...).


Mika Miko
Abe Vigoda
Ima Fucking Gymnist
Vomit Bomb (ex-members of Jazz Thieves and Western Subject)
Dean Spunt (member of No Age and ex-member of Wives)
Wicked City Women (ex-members of This Mess)

$5 if you come all bandaged up
$7 if you come normal
8:00 $5 haircuts!

Also check The Smell's website for upcoming shows. They're cheap 'n noisy, and they've got a swell zine rack next to a swell bookcase next to a swell mixtape exchange box.

The Smell:

247 S. Main Street (alley between 2nd and 3rd)
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Giving unwanted publicity to the spoiled rich kids...

Interesting story from Eric Grandy of The Stranger this week. Apparently Phantom Planet frontman Alex Greenwald has a new band called Blackblack, of which his girlfriend Diva Haskins and her sister Lola (daughters of Bauhaus drummer Kevin Haskins) are also members.

According to the article, the band supported Deerhoof's show at Seattle's Neumo's on Feb. 1, donned in black face paint and dodging all sorts of audience accusations of blackface (see left). The band claimed that they were just trying to appear spooky, that there were no intended racial connotations, yet appeared at their Portland show the next evening dressed in white, presumably a result of those accusations. The Stranger quotes Ben Parrish of Kill Rock Stars as calling the issue not "a PC issue, but an asshole issue" - that the band simply hadn't been thinking about possible interpretations and were honestly pleading ignorance. A look at Blackblack's MySpace page suggests that this is in fact the case - the group appears in photos wearing everything from blood to half-assed skull paint, though Parrish suggests that the ambiguity of their appearance allowed the group to raise controversy that would compensate for their "boring music." (And yes, Blackblack's music is quite on the bland side...)

Is it overly cautious to associate black paint with blackface in this context? Race is such a touchy subject these days, especially when it's difficult to draw a line between overt political correctness and simply-conducted respect, but it's also noteworthy that darkness has a "spooky" or negative association because of its racial origin, and I'm not sure whether our generation's past that association or not. The band had claimed, at their Seattle show, that they were painted black to appear as shadows, so their ignorance may very well have been genuine, given that black will always be a color whether relative to skin or not.

However, Charlie Salas-Humaras of opener Leti Angel called Blackblack a bunch of "rich L.A. kids looking for free publicity" - what better way to get that publicity than to ignite tension and claim innocent ignorance? But if articles on the subject give bands like this undeserved press, is it a better option to give them no publicity whatsoever while letting their actions go unpunished? Blackblack has a message board and not a single person used it to bring up this incident. I'm undecided on this one.

It's a nice day for Swedes.

Two weeks ago, London Calling posted this insane photo of 29-piece Swede band I'm From Barcelona, taken at the University of London on Jan. 24. The merry pop group will be re-releasing Let Me Introduce My Friends (already out in Europe since last summer) for the US crowd on Mar. 20 via Mute Records. But if you're such a fan of bells, choruses and cults that you've got to have it now now now, buy the European version here.

Today's a nice day for Swedes, so here's a smattering of them.

The (International) Noise Conspiracy - Black Mask (1999 version - MP3)
Sonic Negroes - Fujiyama Attack (Guitar Wolf cover, MP3)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

...they fell from the beanstalk.

Why can't every band have a limited recording budget? Lo-fi garage rock makes the world go 'round, and Seattle trio the Fe Fi Fo Fums are a fabulous albeit bitty chunk of its makeup. Hooray for fabulous bits!

The Fe Fi Fo Fums recently completed their In the Summertime EP, available on Boom Boom for five measly bucks, but if you, cheapskate, would rather give 'em a listen first, here ya go. "Electrofize Me" is a previously released 7", and "Jackie Be Good" is near the end of Rock and Roll Dance Party's Valentine's Day 2006 show (from Long Island's WUSB, god bless 'em). The rest of the Rock and Roll Dance Party show's got a great playlist, so quit whining and listen all the way through while you wait for the Fe Fi Fo Fums to show up.

Also check out the Fe Fi Fo Fums on MySpace for a stream of "I Just Want to Have Some Fun!" off In the Summertime.

The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet

Yes, this is old. But it's been on the brain for weeks; it sat on the record player last night, it was in the car this morning, and now it resides here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

This may not be music-related...

...but this photo of Daniel Baldwin is more fascinating
than a year's worth of music news.

Je Fuckin T'Aime.

...and speaking of old chickens who make good soup, Aussie punk band The Saints have got a new release set for May 15. According to CMJ, Imperious Delirium will be put out on Wildflower Records, as will a 4-disc boxed set of Saints tracks called The Greatest Cowboy Movie Never Made. The former is an experimental endeavor as a three-piece (Chris Bailey is now the only guitarist, which the group's press release calls a "blessing"), and the latter contains rarities, unreleased material, and the first three albums from their post-EMI years. Both the LP and the boxed set were released on Cadiz Music in Europe last fall.

CMJ reports the Imperious Delirium tracklist:

01. Drunk In Babylon
02. Declare War
03. Trocadero
04. Je Fuckin T'Aime
05. The Other Side Of The World
06. So Close
07. Getting Away With Murder
08. Drowning
09. Enough Is Never Enough
10. Learning To Crawl
11. War Of Independence

In the meantime, watch a video for 1977's "I'm Stranded," simply because.

No fun.

It's already been announced to the nth degree that the Stooges will release their first studio album since Raw Power on Mar. 20, but now's when we've finally got an audible taste of it. Admittedly, it's a little clean and catchy for them, and "my idea of fun is killing everyone" isn't that exciting a chorus line, but as of 2005 they'd put on a great show, plus Steve Albini has been helping produce new album The Weirdness, so I've got faith in the rest of the tracks to come.

The Stooges - My Idea of Fun (MP3)

If Iggy's sober croon isn't floating your boat, Fun House saxaphonist Steve Mackay and oft-mustachioed bass player Mike Watt will be on The Weirdness as well. And if that means nothing...well then, March 20 will also see new releases from the Willowz, LCD Soundsystem, Modest Mouse, Andrew Bird, I'm From Barcelona, and the Ponys, as well as another album postponement from Bjork. A lovely spring to you, too!

Just added: US tour dates. Thank you, Prefixmag.

03-17 Austin, TX - SXSW
04-07 Boston, MA - Orpheum
04-09 New York, NY - United Palace
04-13 Detroit, MI - Fox Theatre
04-17 Denver, CO - Fillmore Auditorium
04-19 San Francisco, CA - The Warfield
04-27 Seattle, WA - WaMu Theater at Qwest Field Events

We love you!

Could it be true? In continuation of good things being spewed from the loins of the lovely folks at Damaged Goods, there's apparently going to be a tribute album for spunky Damaged Goods artist Helen Love. Super! Girl's Own states that in addition to making the tribute its first release, fans can contribute to the album. The site has posted lyrics and a live MP3 for track "Yeah Yeah We're Helen Love," and if you, the fan, e-mail an MP3 or WAV file of your a cappella singing to, you may be one of many voices contributing to "the ultimate tribute song fan sing-along." Additionally, photos you submit may be included in a promo video for the project.

The album itself will be called Helen Love: We Love You, named for the pow-pow-bang-bang track that you can find fer cheap on It's the Cheap Damaged Goods Sampler CD, squished between goodies from Holly Golightly and the Budget Girls.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Miss Golightly!

Exciting news for anyone needing a Holly Golightly fix! A new studio album is in store, the first since 2004's Slowly But Surely, and this time it's a collaboration between Holly and Lawyer Dave (who're calling themselves The Brokeoffs when listed as a duo). The Brokeoffs spent the start of the new year recording an LP called You Can't Buy a Gun When You're Crying, and according to the band's My Space page, the record will be released on Damaged Goods at the end of March.

Additionally, Ms. Golightly and Mr. Dave themselves will be making US appearances in support of the album this March. Sadly, the shows will only take place around the northeastern corner of the country, though any updates will get posted.

In good timing, March will also see releases from fellow Damaged Goods artists Fabienne Del Sol and Golightly mentor Billy Childish, leading Buff Medways successors the Musicians of the British Empire.

Buy the Brokeoffs a drink or five:

Mar. 8th New York, Mercury Lounge

Mar. 9th Cambridge, Middle East Upstairs

Mar. 10th New Haven, Café Nine

Mar. 11th Philadelphia, The Khyber

Mar. 13th Rochester NY, The Bug Jar

Mar. 14th Detroit, Lager House

Mar. 15th Milwaukee, Mad Planet

Mar. 16th Madison, The Annex

Mar. 17th Chicago, Subterranean

Mar. 20th Columbus, Little Brothers

Mar. 21st Cleveland, Beachland Tavern

Mar. 22nd Baltimore, The Ottobar

Mar. 23rd Arlington, IOTA Club & Café

Mar. 24th Hoboken, Maxwell's

EMP Sixth Annual Sound Off!

2007 marks the sixth year that Seattle's Experience Music Project has held its Sound Off! contest, a competition for musicians in the Pacific Northwest that are under 21. Past winners include bands known around the Seattle-ish circuit, like Schoolyard Heroes, Mon Frere (who've since broken up), Idiot Pilot, the Hollowpoints, and the Gruff Mummies, who beat out my good friends in Tacoma-based electro-duo Handshakes two years ago. The competition's an exciting mess of teen bands being cheered on by their friends and families, and not without reason - in addition to the first place spot, each semi-final round reserves an Audience Response prize for the act most enthusiastically supported. Semi-finals take place once a week for three weeks, each round a contest that involves four acts. The winner of each semi-final round will compete at Sound Off!'s final round, set for Feb. 24.

The prizes (in addition to those provided to all three finalists, including Shure microphones, industry consultation from the Recording Academy and a Drumcore software package):

1st Place - A performance slot at Bumbershoot 2007, a live on-air performance on 107.7 The End’s The Young and The Restless, production of a song from Glenn Lorbecki at Glenn Sound Studio, two additional days of studio time at Soundhouse Studio, and a Gibson Les Paul Double Cut guitar and amp provided by Gibson.

2nd Place - A live on-air performance on KEXP’s Audioasis, two days of studio time at Orbit Audio Studio and an Epiphone Sheraton II.

3rd Place - A Kramer Vanguard FR-440

The performance dates:

Round 1 – Feb. 3

-Don't Tell Sophie
-For Years Blue – WINNER (round one)
-The Oregon Donor – Audience Response Prize (round one)

Round 2 - Feb. 10
Round 3 - Feb. 17
Finals - Feb. 24

All shows take place at the EMP Sky Church in Seattle. Shows begin at 8:00 pm and tickets are available at the EMP for $10 general/$7 EMP members and students.

For a list of all performers and links to their MySpace pages, check out Megan Seling's article at The Stranger, or the official webpage of the EMP Sound Off!.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

The NME bought the month of March.

The month of March is a horrible time to live in Los Angeles if you're a loyal NME reader and don't know how to prioritize your Brits. Essentially half the bands they've been gushing over will be in L.A. at the same time. Check out this insane tour schedule:

3/7 – Young Knives @ Spaceland
3/13 – The View @ Troubadour
3/19 – The Fratellis @ Troubadour
3/19 – The Horrors @ The Echo
3/19 - Bloc Party @ Wiltern
3/19 – Amy Winehouse @ Roxy
3/20 - Bloc Party @ Wiltern
3/20 – Amy Winehouse @ Spaceland

What the hell's an anglophile to do on March 19?

Additionally, The Kooks and The Good, The Bad and The Queen will be appearing at Coachella in late April. Now, if only those Klaxons could get their paperwork sorted out...

Edit: I spoke too soon - the Klaxons will in fact be touring North America in the month of April.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Happening this weekend in L.A...

...if you don't have frighteningly
effective reading glasses, the address is:

628 N. Alvarado Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026

The Fratellis will be huge! And hello.

Goodness, a blog! Original. Hey!

There'll be all sorts of music-related somethings here: reviews, lists (heaven knows nerds love lists), and the thoughts that sit between reviews and lists.

Anyway, my faith in the music industry is slowly being restored bit by bit. I don't know what the radio sounds like outside of the west coast, but what I can say about typical L.A. exposure is that despite all the new music that continually gets released, our rock stations continue to play the same Sublime and Green Day they've played for ten years, distributed about evenly with generic hard rock as well as bands that claim not to be emo (30 Seconds to Mars/My Chemical Romance/Panic! at the Disco, et al). But when someone like TV on the Radio scores a major deal and actually gets played, or when bands the NME hasn't completely sucked dry get picked for commercials, I get a little relieved and start thinking that perhaps there really is someone with taste exercising authority somewhere.

On that note, I woke up to generic oldies station K-Earth the other day and heard a commercial for Vons (grocery store, for anyone not in CA) in which the Fratellis' "Chelsea Dagger" played in the background. The Fratellis haven't made a US debut yet, and already they're selling ground meat. Much as I hate the idea of a band I like selling pieces of cow, I'm kind of thrilled that a lesser known is actually being sought out and used over [game show spot music or the like]. And I'd rather they sell groceries than, say, Hummers. Realistically, the Fratellis are pretty generic Brit-rock, as are the Kooks, View, Automatic, etcetera etcetera etcetera, but generic British pop is at least more fun a listen than generic American pop, not to mention a bit more tastefully clothed, so I'm all about their image being posted around if it gives less time to whatever we've got going on here.

Not that they'll be a lesser-known for long, though; their song "Flathead" is featured in an iPod spot that complements the American release of their Flathead EP, and apparently their upcoming shows will be quite packed (read: sold out).

US dates:
14-18 March - SXSW Festival (Austin, TX)
19 March - Troubadour (Los Angeles, CA)
22 March - Mercury Lounge (New York, NY)
23 March - Mercury Lounge (New York, NY)
28 April - Coachella (Indio, CA)

Have a look at 'em, go see 'em, and listen to the sound of meat 'n handclaps.