The Rich Girls Are Weeping: June 2006

30 June 2006

Steely Dan's "Peg" has one of the best super-tight rhythm tracks ever (that high hat action especially!). Seriously. And so, you know, I'm totally geeking out over this little video about the recording of the song from Classic Albums - Aja. (Thanks Merlin!)

Hell might be freezing over. Pitchfork and I actually agree on something (besides the fact that Matthew Herbert's Scale is fantastic) -- that Sound Team's Movie Monster leaves much to be desired, though I don't think I would have gone as low as 3.7. Not as harsh as a zero, but practically. But apparently, they don't hear any songs there either and also find it overstuffed and overburdened with references to a myriad of influences. I caught the video for "Your Eyes Are Liars" the other day; I swear, some major label VP said to his A&R staff, "Find me a band that sounds like those Killers fellows. Only they have to look more wholesome, like those guys from Death Cab for Cutie! And smart, maybe working in some McSweeney's references or something." Voila Sound Team!

In other news: Shake off your four day weekend/Fourth of July hangover and join Four Inches from the Cuff (MySpace) & The Rich Girls are Weeping at Emo's on Wednesday, July 5 at regular head-to-Emo's time (e.g. 10pm).

On the bill are:

The Ebb and Flow (MySpace)
The Hourly Radio (MySpace)
Protokoll (MySpace)
A Featherweight Burden

Be prepared for lush shoegazeriness, melodic bass, Aaron's completely amazing voice, a little mopey gothiness, some funk, and a teensy bit of prog-rock. You know...the usual stuff from us. Beaucoups thanks to Regan(!) and Phil for helping us pull this together.

I think I kind of shot my wad in yesterdays accidentally gigantic post... I think all I have left in the queue (of my brain) are my thoughts on The Dears' Gang of Losers (due out Aug. 6, 2006). It seemed slightly limp to me on first listen -- but yes, it's true, this is one of those albums that needs time to grow on you. Or maybe it won't be that way for you...maybe you'll love or hate it immediately. At any rate, I'm definitely all about "There Goes My Outfit" and "Find Our Way To Freedom" these days -- there's something about Murray Lightbourne's delivery and songwriting that reminds me of John Roderick of The Long Winters. They both have that freakishly consistent clarity of vision, both musically and lyrically, that's really quite enviable.

The Dears -- There Goes My Outfit
The Dears -- Find Our Way To Freedom

If you're feeling like doing some serious reading and thinking this weekend, dig into Herbert Brun's essay "The Listener's Interpretation of Music:An Experience Between Cause and Effect" (via Weird Weeds' Nick Hennies). There will be a quiz on Wednesday. (I'm kidding, I'm kidding!)

28 June 2006

Passing the buck. When a girl has a lot of meetings, that means y'all get a link compendium. I hope that's okay. Pinkie and I had planned this whole Big Star & Big Star covers thing -- I think we'll have to get to that tomorrow instead. The best collection of selected live Mountain Goats sets, including a grand cover of Radiohead's "No Surprises" and The Sunset Tree orphan "Hawaiian Feeling/The Day The Aliens Came." My long-time internet pal Ario linked to the Serious DJs in his livejournal today; I have to admit that anything I know about what's new and hot on the dance music scene comes entirely from keeping up with what Ario's into (and I believe he can claim the honor of introducing me to Feist). The Serious DJs' latest set, The Christopher Hitchens Dubstep Hour, is posted for your enjoyment (along with a ton of other great sets) on the 'mixes' section of their site. Kelefa Sanneh evaluates the comeback strategies of a clutch of pop divas: Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Janet Jackson and Jewel. How will we know what charming new bands to love, to love when "The O.C." is gone, is gone? FOX practically writes the show's execution order by only asking for 16 episodes next season. If you're a huge nerd for mergers and acquisitions and, as I am, and into watching the record industry make total fools of themselves, the Daily Deal's Dealwatch blog has a spectacularly entertaining chronicle of the WarnerMusic/EMI tug-of-war. And, just for the record, some recent opinions: Covers of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy": ENOUGH ALREADY. It's not just in a minor key: A lot of people are flipping out over Peter Bjorn and John's "Young People" (featuring a cameo from The Concretes' Victoria Bergsmann), and it's a lovely song -- the only problem is the bass is completely out of tune, which is kind of problematic as the entire song is anchored by an otherwise lovely melodic bassline. Jim Noir: Zzzzz. No thanks. I've already heard The Kinks, The Left Banke, and Badly Drawn Boy. Also, Tower of Love has about the worst album art I've ever seen come out of the Barsuk camp -- frankly, it borders on embarrassingly amateurish. Making matters worse, it was kind of gross to watch the posts begin to spring up on other blogs literally the same night everyone got their promos in the mail, conveniently timed to hit us right when his song in an Adidas World Cup advert was gaining traction in the earworm department and saw release as a digital-only single. How could you be that savvy when it comes to the marketing, and that lacking in an eye for design? I mean, that font is so tired. Come on! But I digress... The Great Sleater-Kinney Breakup of 2006: Finally, geez! Wasn't it inevitable after The Woods was an utter failure artistically? Look, I never liked them, though I am a giant fan of Janet Weiss, her skillz on the trap, and her amazing hair. The Great Jeff Mangum Hoax of 2006: I really, really, really hate the internet sometimes. John Cale: I'm beyond obsessed lately. Paris 1919, Fear, Slow Dazzle, The Academy in Peril -- they're all fantastic. Forgotten early 2006 release of the week: The Elected's Sun, Sun, Sun. This is a note to myself not to forget it when the dreaded mid-December rolls around and it comes time to make end-of-year-lists. Speaking of The Elected and Big Star and other celestial bodies and all... The Elected -- Biggest Star Mojave 3 -- Big Star Baby Sean Na Na -- Sean Tillman Is A Fucking Star Which reminds me -- did I actually see somewhere (and I can't remember where now) that Sean Tillman is doing a DJ set in like NYC or LA soon, as Sean Tillman? Was it with a Franki Chan event? Does this mean that Har Mar Superstar no more? Sorry if I'm behind the times here; I mean, I still have Calvin Krime CDs, you know. I love the way I managed to squish some songs on here anyway, even though I'd decided not to... Oh, what the heck, have a deliciously dark and slinky I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness b-side (off the "According to Plan" single) and a fantastically vocoder-laden Goldfrapp remix for good measure! I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness -- Better Strangers Goldfrapp -- Oh La La (When Andy Bell Met Manhattan Clique Mix) Really, I'm not as crabby today as you might think. I just found out I'll be blogging for my employer soon, which should be eminently entertaining. Or something. Is there such a thing as too much blogging? We may soon find out, what with the launch of Four Inches From The Cuff around the corner as well. (So good I kind of want to keep it like a secret, but that would be wrong: Special Agent Crazy Flower)
You either love Xiu Xiu, or you don't. Simplistic, I know -- but I don't think I've met anyone who's heard the band (or Jamie Stewart's -- and his collaborators' -- other work) who didn't have a very strong opinion of it, either positive or negative -- there's never any in-betweens. It took me some time to come around to Xiu Xiu, actually -- even though I was a fan of Stewart's previous projects, Ten In The Swear Jar and IBOPA.

That being said, could this be the best yearning love song of all time; full of melancholy despite the promise of resolution? [Also included, another highly notable cover version, and the gorgeous, sparkling original.]

Xiu Xiu -- Kangaroo
This Mortal Coil -- Kangaroo
Big Star -- Kangaroo

"Kangaroo" appears on the Xiu Xiu covers EP, released by the fab Spanish label Acuarela Discos and available from Darla. The EP includes covers of tracks from three TRGAW faves: Nedelle, Bauhaus, and Nina Simone -- and uh, one from ... The Pussycat Dolls. (Don't cha wish your girlfriend was smart like me? Jus' sayin'.) Obscure Sound has posted tracks from the EP as well; there's tons more Xiu Xiu to sample at 5RC and Kill Rock Stars. The Air Force, the newest full-length from the band, will be released on September 15.

Elsewhere: Kathryn posted some fantastic pictures from The Grates' show at the Mercury Lounge in NYC last night. And, Karen Flickr'd the Peter the Wolf CD release show, which we sadly missed due to sheer forgetfulness in the midst of the flooding drama. Susan looked adorable as part of the Hobo Orchestra!

27 June 2006

Not to inudate you with videos today, but this is worth it. Found on Pharmagossip -- of all places -- one of the only like, you know, work-related blogs I read: Stevie Wonder & band doing "Superstition" live on "Sesame Street." His re-tooled version of theme song is also pretty incredible as well.

When you need some medication, make it some shred-eration. I'm swamped with media requests for interviews today (woo!), so I might not have time to post much more than this: A co-worker just sent me a link to the fantastic video below from metal gods Dragon Force. Three reasons why you should watch this: AMAZING HAIR!, speed keyboards, and inset shots of the shredding at the 3:30 mark that last for literally, like, over a minute. Must be seen to be believed. Oh, and you know, the lyrics are priceless.

See Dragon Force, if you dare, this summer at Ozzfest. (Also, I want to hug their publicist for circulating the best-written bio of all time.)

Also, in an effort to understand the collective consciouslness -- does anyone else have Material Issue on the brain? Pinkie and I did last night, we had an extended discussion wherein we reminisced about the band. Conicidentally, apparently, Can You See The Sunset From The Southside put up a lovely post about the band yesterday.

26 June 2006

When news breaks, we...fix it...or something. Just in from MySpace: Longtime TRGAW pals and all-around adorable people Voxtrot have signed (as we suspected) with Beggars on the Playlouder imprint (think Serena Maneesh). This is totally neat. Not to brag or anything, but it's nice to finally mention this as we've heard rumblings of the news from people who know, etc. for weeks (months?). And this is completely unscientific, but we're pretty sure that leading up to SXSW 2005, we, in another--and equally spectacular--guise may have helped this happen...just a teensy bit.

Voxtrot play in Brooklyn at the end of the month with a whole bunch of other people. Birthday boy and World Cup fan Ramesh Srivastava also DJs all over NYC on the 29th and 30th. Go see him, and not just because he's cute and says "totes" almost as often as we do.
Oh my goodness gracious. What was meant to be a fun weekend with dj sets and rock shows and relaxing turned into a massive headache. It was discovered that Pinkie's apartment was completely flooded about an hour before we were to head downtown to dj. Her furniture is fine, her cat is fine -- however, a huge portion of her record collection is not fine (though mostly dry now), her clothes all need to be laundered (a massive undertaking, to be sure), and her mattress may now be infested with mold as well. Please send lots of good thoughts her way, she's having a heck of a time dealing with her insurance company and her apartment management. Additionally, if anyone's experienced in dealing with this kind of situation, all pointers and suggestions are appreciated.

As a result of the flooding, I dj'd our two planned 45 minute sets alone Friday night. Not a big deal really, but I missed Pinkie's company and her inspired segues. I went on first at 10 pm and had to grapple with a glitchy PA, so if you were around for that first set, woah, I am so sorry about that. As requested, here's the setlists!

[X-Ray Spex - "Ar-ti-ficial" // Interpol - "Slow Hands" // Nine Black Alps - "Cosmopolitan" // Sparks - "Ladies" // Pulp - "Babies" // New Order - "Age of Consent" // Ladyfuzz - "Bouncy Ball" // David Bowie - "Young Americans" // Spoon - "Sister Jack"]

Set two went a little better -- well, a lot better actually. More familiar faces had arrived, I had a gin and tonic, and most of the technical issues had thankfully been resolved during Jacob's set.

[Electronic - "Getting Away With It (Vocal Mix)" // Roxy Music - "Editions of You" // T-Rex - "Jeepster" // Goldfrapp - "Number One" // Talking Heads - "Wild Wild Life" // The National - "Lit Up" // I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - "According to Plan" // The Hourly Radio - "Crime Does Pay" // Heaven 17 -- "I'm Your Money" // Gwen Stefani - "Hollaback Girl" // The Waitresses - "I Know What Boys Like" // Julian Cope - "World Shut Your Mouth" // The New Pornographers - "Letter From An Occupant"]

Thanks to New.Berlin, Jacob Sanders, and ACLN for inviting us to be on the bill, and for understanding when I had to jet in order to get Pinkie out of her flooded apartment for the night. And thanks to everyone who came out -- especially Baby D., who helped me carry my records back to the car, which I'd parked very very far away from Emo's due to the Sonic Youth show at Stubb's.

We definitely have plans to do more sets in the future -- hopefully, they will be a little more laid-back and a little less fraught with outside drama!

And, despite the flooding incident, we stepped out with Karen Meow Meow to see The Futureheads and French Kicks at La Zona Rosa Friday night; it was a fun show -- not emotionally engaging in any way, but a fantastic dance party kind of event. French Kicks are almost a little too Walkmen-lite for my taste, but they delivered a solid set that finally won me over despite their rather unremarkable stage presence. The Futureheads, on the other hand, played a calamitous hyperriot of a set, which led me to posit that their entire rider must consist of candy and sodas. I love how their sound lies somewhere between The Minutemen and Big Country, and it really is incredible that they can deliver those creepy neat harmonies relatively flawlessly live. The songs off the new album were definitely more affecting in a live setting, so if you're on the fence about News & Tributes, it might be worth it to catch this tour.

For your listening pleasure, here's two tracks from the Japan bonus disc of Herbert's Scale that features the recorded-at-Abbey Road, lush orchestral versions of several tracks that are the foundation of the album versions. (Matthew Herbert's long-time collaborator (and wife) Dani Siciliano provides the lead vocals, btw.) I know people are totally going insane over this album (including Pitchfork), but rest assured, it is most definitely worth the hype.

Herbert -- Birds of a Feather
Herbert -- We're In Love

I just wrote a bio for work where I included the fact that I'm a "regular contributor to a number of influential music weblogs." Ha! I might be interviewed later today about the Johnson and Johnson/Pfizer consumer healthcare deal.

23 June 2006

I am totally goofing off today. Part of it is that I started looking at CuteOverload -- and when that happens, I just get obsessed with looking for EVEN MORE cute pictures of animals -- so I ended up over on Flickr and ... You know how it is. Sometimes the internet is just freakin' evil, fo' reals.

So, I've been meaning to post these for a few days -- for no other reason than that they're great. Ladies and gents, a handful of Madonna covers, just for your Friday. (Unfortunately, I do not have any Ciccone Youth with me... I'm sorry!)

Heaven 17 -- Holiday
Ofra Haza -- Open Your Heart
Marilyn Manson KMFDM -- Material Girl (nb -- file name corrected, but ID3 tags not updated.)
Matthew Sweet -- Justify My Love (live)
The Rondelles -- Like A Prayer
The String Quartet -- Ray of Light
(ganked from Fluxblog back in September, it's just too good not to share again...)

And, since I'm kind of on a nostalgia/covers trip, or something: You know about Centro-matic (and to a certain extent, The Toadies) precedecessor Funland (which, at one point was known as Melt), right? Oh, you guys! Funland was like, TOTALLY the best ever. Thx to my co-worker aa for having this song in his iTunes collection! I need to get my hands on more.

Funland -- Obligatory Cover (For The Kids) [Air Supply's Making Love Out Of Nothing At All]

Ok, have a good weekend!
(See you tonight at Emo's Corner Bar? RAD!)

22 June 2006

Late additions. Goodness, there was a lot of stuff floating around today, wasn't there?

In which I characteristically smash a buzz band, but not too badly: So, do you think that Elton John will come after The Foundry Field Recordings for the rather uh, blatant rip of "Rocket Man" on "Holding the Pilots/Holding the Facts?" Do you think Robert Smith will be 'round next to collect the Cure-iness? I was rather taken by the first 30 seconds, all instrumental, until the vocals kicked in. They're much much too thin. It seems to me like the track is rather badly mixed/engineered despite the general lushness -- it's just kind of sub-parin that regard, but I am picky about these things. There's certainly gobs of potential here, though, as demonstrated in the other songs on the band's new full-length, Prompts/Miscues -- which I don't mind saying. Not at all.

The Foundry Field Recordings -- Holding the Pilots/Holding the Facts

You guys! Why didn't anyone tell me about The Boy Least Likely To's cover of George Michael's "Faith?" Do you think they'll do a followup with "Freedom '90?" Don't tell, but uh, both are totally two of my all-time favorite songs. (I'm less fond of "Monkey," though.) No, really.

The Boy Least Likely To -- Faith

How bummed out am I that I won't be able to see Frida Hyvönen on tour with Jens Lekman? (OMG! Frida Hyvönen!!! RIYL: Rufus Wainwright, Regina Spektor, Nellie McKay, Barbara Morgenstern, etc...) Seriously bummed out. Anyone want to uh, underwrite a trip to any of these dates? The NYC show is already sold out, even.

Frida Hyvönen -- The Modern
Toolin' 'round the neighborhood. From the fabulous J. Frank Parnell at Stop Loving Everything, an entree to El Perro Del Mar. I'm with him on the inital assesement: Is the work of Ms. Assbring (yes, unfortunately, that is her given name) is brilliant, or precocious and shallow and ultimately derivative? I need more time to consider this. In the meantime, check out the tracks that he's posted, let me know what you think.

Captain Ahab won the Snakes on a Plane soundtrack competition over at TagWorld. Yes. They Won The Grand Prize -- which means "Snakes on the Brain" will appear on the film's soundtrack. Seriously, my only response to this is OMGWTFYAY! Congrats, Jim & Jonathan -- I'll totally buy ya a margarita or two next time I see y'alls!

In NYC tonight? The Hourly Radio or Blacklist would like to entertain you at the Annex and Lit, respectively. In Austin? Benko and Midori Umi are at Room 710 (along with The Paper South, Friday After Dark). And on top of that, the Faceless Werewolves open for precocious Nashvillians Be Your Own PET at the Parish and Steve Arceri, Real Live Tigers, and more play at 423 Tillery. Dang.

[And don't forget, as if you could at this point, really, (ha!) about our DJ duties tomorrow night at Emo's Corner Bar!]

And while we're pushing items from pals and acquaintances, I can't more highly recommend Everyday is Saturday Night, the new debut full-length from Austin's very own Darling New Neighbors. I hope recommending them isn't a repeat of the entry behind this link; the DNN are definitely on the lo-fi tip, engage in charming near-dischordant harmonies, and occasionally deploy both a fiddle and an accordion.

Look, it's like this really: I wish I could just take you all to a DNN show at the Carousel Lounge. Not that the album is bad, or not representative of their sound -- to the contrary, it is really great. It's just that I'm of the opinion that one's first exposure to the band is best served by the experience that is the DNN live show, preforably with cheap setups and booze your friends carried around all day in backpacks and briefcases, knowing they'd end up at the Carousel later that night. But, I could be wrong about that. However, y'alls in the Midwest will find out soon enough -- catch the DNN in your neck of the woods this August.

I suppose my only beef with the record is that is that they couldn't include their amazing Whitesnake cover on the album (seriously!); however, it does include two live tracks, one of which I've included here.

Darling New Neighbors -- Seven
Darling New Neighbors -- You're Like Gasoline (live)

Every Day is Saturday Night is available from End of an Ear, Waterloo, Cheapo, and Sound On Sound (all in Austin) now, and from the I Eat Records website soon; national distribution will commence in August.

Oh, and there's a fantastically amusing interview with Red Hunter from Peter and the Wolf over at Austinist.
[At the behest of Cindy Hotpoint...] Ten years ago I had a chip on my shoulder. I was involved in the local dance music community, hung out with the Slow Motion Music crew, went to 626 Soul parties with the best of them, and when I really wanted to dance, I went to 4th Street. I thought then that a DJ wasn't worth his salt unless he (and notice I say "he") could ride a beatmatched mix for minutes before turning knobs or pushing the crossfader all the way over one way or another. By 1999, I was critical of everything and every one: of “BSPF,” of “cheesy” production, of anything that wasn’t “deep,” of DJs who mixed with CDs rather than vinyl and dubplates, of producers who never scheduled live PA performances, of mix sessions made in ProTools rather than vinyl through a mixer straight to tape or CDR, and I knew that Boyz Cellar’s Filthy Rich was the best kept DJ secret in Austin. In short, I was pretty miserable to be around, but a few local DJs appreciated having me as an advocate because I knew my history, I knew my terminology, and I was a female trainspotter who wanted to dance, drink, and meet Deep Dish. (Touching was reserved for Omid Nourizadeh and based almost strictly on the quality of his various projects, but that’s another story.)

When guitars called me back, I learned that there was much more to rocking a party than mad skillz behind the decks. Just like in dance music culture, in indie rock there is a fine line between production skills and product, between following a trend and setting one, and between just playing records or being a selector. The selectors that I'd mocked? Honestly, they were more interesting than anyone who could play 2 hours of bangin' techno or chugging progressive house without a single break or the ghost of a trainwreck. The parties where five people showed up with 45 cases and odds and ends from their parents’ record collections were the best, because making a party happen from some soul, a few indie label records, some 80s standards, and weird stuff from thrift stores showed that indie rock DJing is non-genre-specific cut and paste that works. The dance party (rather than a night at the club) was back, for a whole new audience of kids who benefit daily from the of ease of purchasing their place in a scene through the right easily accessible clothes, downloads, and “friends.” And the kids without American Bandstand, Dance Fever, or SoulTrain context, without record-buying context, eat it up. With a spoon.

Those years when guitar and drums called me back were also the years of disco and italodisco, when I became impressed with the musicianship of the foundations of house and techno, with funk and Northern Soul, when I learned about DJs like David Mancuso and Larry Levan who don't (and in the case of Levan didn’t) beatmatch. When I learned that parties like the Loft were about the message and the people, more than expertise. Anyone can DJ, it’s about learning technology. Selecting is about craftsmanship.

Indie rock can be credited with the rise of the loathsome celebrity DJ. James Iha, Nick Zinner, Carlos D., and Kit Chaps (AKA VHS or Beta) are the first that come to mind, and interestingly, all have histories of DJing that go back as far or as or further than their careers as known musicians. (And some of them are quite good when they relax, go with what they’re doing, and become just a DJ instead of so-and-so from such-and-such band.) But I’m not sure that particular variety is any more loathsome than the chav that began to “infect” house and techno in the late 90s—sports stars, pop singers, actors who thought that if they put on a pair of Sonys or Sens and stood behind the decks, they were DJing. (I realize that this could be construed as an insult to Madonna’s appearance at Misshapes, but Madonna got her start at the Danceteria, so far be it for me to lay criticism there.) And the analogue to this in indie rock is the loathsome blogger who shows up to “DJ” armed with an iPod, a laptop, a CD library, and personal musical history that began with The Killers or college. Some have potential to be very, very good, especially if they develop an identity or a standard of taste for the brand that they become: e.g. Queens of Noize and Tarts of Pleasure. Sure, most of their audience is there for the party, but when New York magazine said that Sarah Lewitinn has spent the last couple of years with more popular pull than any professional music journalist, they were telling the truth. The kids want her friends, and they want her lifestyle, but what they’re getting in being close to it by coming out to Stolen Transmission events is a window on what it takes to become a tastemaker, even if one’s taste is suspect to a portion of the audience. Consistency of voice, schedule, and interest is what works in blogging and in playing records.

So Cindy and I have an event on Friday that we’re both excited about. We’re doing our best to get another installment of Love & a .45 scheduled. That’s not say we’re not nervous. But we know we’ve got good records, musical interests and acquisitions that span decades, and friends who are supportive. Don’t pass judgment until you’ve been in our (fabulous) shoes, stepped out of your own shell, and taken a chance at doing something that you value as an art form, even if you can only hope to be a craftsperson instead of an architect.

21 June 2006

It's amazing what a three mile walk and a good night's sleep and a good dinner will do for you. Getting back on a regular schedule of looking after myself has gone a long way to making me feel better. (Oh, add NasalCrom and Emergen-C to the list as well. They're moving -- yeah moving, I should take a picture -- the house next door to mine. It's a little clapboard cottage and the sheer amount of mold that's been kicked up is disgusting.) I just love wandering around in an allergic stupor!

First of all: The Hourly Radio will be ripping it up at The Annex in NYC tomorrow (and in Cleveland tonight). If you're in the vicinity, you should totally go. They were faboo internet radio station WOXY's Lounge Act yesterday; check out an mp3 of the show in the Lounge Act archive. THR are going out on tour with Protokoll in July; stay tuned for details on the TRGAW-sponsored show in Austin on July 5!

Onward and upward: It's been a while since we posted some remixes; here's a few that have caught my ear over the past few weeks.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- Turn Into (Nick Zinner Remix) (sorry it's on yousendit, but you know how these things are...)
The White Rose Movement -- Girls in the Back (Hugo Nicolson Bad Birthday Remix)
Asobi Seksu -- Strings (Glass Factory Remix) [via Good Hodgkins]
Bloc Party -- Banquet (Boys Noize Dub Mix)

Changing gears entirely: Pinkie and I caught a neat-o documentary on PBS Sunday night about a local band I bet you never thought that we'd talk about -- legendary Texas swing revivalists Asleep at the Wheel -- and their 1999 tribute album to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Ride With Bob. You know how we feel about Bob Wills and Texas swing, I think, yes? Don't get us started on how going to Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa was practically a religious experience, but you've heard about that... Anyway, Ride With Bob is the second Asleep at the Wheel tribute album chock-full of great reinterpretations of Wills' classic hits; as on the first, the band is joined by mainstream country stars actually singing real, live country music (shocker!), less mainstream country stars (like Dwight Yoakam, Lyle Lovett, and Don Walser), guests from left field (The Manhattan Transfer), and former members of The Texas Playboys. The resulting product could have been cheezy and irrelevant (especially given the sheer political incorrectness of songs like "Cherokee Maiden" and "Milk Cow Blues"), but the thing is, it's not -- Texas swing is far from dead and buried and Asleep at the Wheel does an exemplary job of keeping the traditions alive without reproducing stultified carbon copies. The little documentary about the recording of the album was really heartwarming -- especially seeing the old Texas Playboys playing their guitars smooth as glass like it ain't no thang. Also: Don't tell, but I have a huge, inappropriate crush on ASatW frontman Ray Benson -- it's that voice!

Asleep at the Wheel (with Tim McGraw) -- Milk Cow Blues
Asleep at the Wheel (with the Dixie Chicks) -- Roly Poly
Asleep at the Wheel (with Dwight Yoakam) -- New San Antonio Rose

Bonus: Asleep at the Wheel -- You're From Texas (live)

20 June 2006

Sometimes you're having a really trying day. It happens. Meetings, too much work, stress stress stress from personal things and life in general.

...But then you hear something like this: The entire crowd at the recent Mountain Goats show in San Francisco singing "No Children." (via Largehearted Boy) Mr. John Darnielle's been way under the weather on the West Coast tour (send him happy get-well thoughts, okay?). In an effort to give him a little bit of a respite during the set, the crowd took up the charge and performed the whole song for him. I am not ashamed to tell you that it totally made me cry (though, I am already feeling pretty emo today, so ...) -- it's moments like this that makes the live music experience so very special. Makes me wish I'd been there. (Relatedly: Brian at Bows+Arrows has a new tMG track, "Woke Up New," from eEmusic's Pitchfork Fest compilation (check it out, it contains lots of amazing stuff for free, guilt free...). I'd been tipped off from a few sources who'd heard the demos of the new material that will be on Get Lonely (scheduled for release on August 22) that the new songs were heart-rending and spectacular -- and if this track is any indication, they were absolutely right about that.)

Pinkie and I missed The Walkmen's show last night due to some ratkilling that had to take place, namely an all-day excursion that involved a drive to Fort Worth and back. Both of us have yet to see them play live after years of being big fans, which made us kind of sad -- but we were just too exhausted and wouldn't've had a very good time. It always seems that there's one or two bands that are like that -- you love 'em to death, but never get to see them live. M83 is another band I'm always missing when they come to town -- and Tilly and the Wall as well.

Oh! And don't forget -- we'll be DJing Friday night at Emo's corner bar!

Come by after the Sonic Youth show and dance, dance, dance. We'll deliver the goods!

Oh and! When I asked about my favorite song of 2006 (so far) -- it was no contest. Matmos' "Steam and Sequins for Larry Levan" was the hands-down winner. Read what other bloggers had to say on the topic at Mars Needs Guitars.

19 June 2006

Sorry there wasn't a more substantial post today; we had some personal issues to tidy up. Most of it is resolved now, though. Thank goodness!

I'm not sure how I forgot about this -- but local pals and faves The Black Angels are out touring these great united states as we speak, ripping it up from coast to coast with other TRGAW faves dark art-rock "project" Lansing-Dreiden (through June 25) and Hopewell (the latest sassy project of ex-Mercury Rev'er Jason Russo) through July 27). Later in the summer they'll join psych/blues/rock/proto-metal legends Blue Cheer on the road July 13th through August 4th, and wrap everything up with an appearance at the Austin City Limits Music Festival September 17th. If they're headed your way, be sure to check 'em out. Passover, their new album, is available now; there's also a gorgeous vinyl version that's sure to please all the packaging fetishists out there.

The Black Angels -- The First Vietnamese War (via Light in the Attic Records)

16 June 2006

In tribute to Ted, my wayfaring vehicle.
You'll be home soon, baby.

soco driveby
SoCo with Ted.

Talking Heads -- Road to Nowhere
The B-52's -- Devil In My Car
Spoon -- Car Radio
Jonathan Richman -- Roadrunner
Fountains of Wayne -- Survival Car
Belle and Sebastian -- I Love My Car
The Long Winters -- Carparts
Matthew Sweet -- Vixen
Chet Baker -- Vehicle
Busy Signals -- The Freeway
Arcade Fire -- In The Backseat
Stereolab -- Speedy Car
The Magnetic Fields -- When The Open Road Is Closing In
Death Cab for Cutie -- We Looked Like Giants
The Judybats -- Cars
c.h.a.o.s. productions -- My Other Car Is A Beatle
The Wrens -- Bus Dance
Ted Leo/RX -- Walking To Do

I'll be getting rides and taking the bus for a few more days, but approx. 1.5 weeks and uh, $2,400 later (yeah, uh, actually, I'll be taking the bus even after he's back!), I have an ETA for Ted's return, and that makes me very, very happy indeed! Have a good weekend, everyone!

15 June 2006

Can it, ya big diva. Pinkie and I sat on the edge of the pool at a tony Westlake address last night during a friend's birthday party, splashing the swimmers -- as we'd forgotten our bathing suits, and I chatted with a friend about the state of opera companies in the US. This friend has worked for several major opera companies for the past 25 years and recently made the switch a social activism charity after a contract stint with a certain federal agency after a certain devastating natural disaster.

My friend was telling me about a story that surfaced yesterday: The Houston Grand Opera, one of the most innovative and daring companies in the US, will have a $2.3 million budget deficit at the end of their fiscal year this July. Strangely enough, the HGO's former artistic director, David Glockley, recently moved to the San Francisco Opera to clean up the crippling $12 million deficit created by the previous director, and there just happened to be a story this morning on the Bloomberg wires about Glockley's plans to turn around the SFO.

Now, I hope you don't find this boring. But maybe it's just me who finds this kind of thing interesting; the opera business in the US has been in increasingly dire straits since the late 90's. And you can't point to anything simple as the cause. Sure, you can give the hairy eyeball to tired productions of the classics and too-weird productions of new operas, or the fact that people seem more motivated to support and contribute to health and social activism charities, or the post-9/11 economic downturn -- but the fact remains that opera companies have trouble doing outreach to new patrons -- especially 20-and-30-somethings. Which is to say, the demographic of most of the readership of this blog. For curiosity's sake: Do you have an interest in opera? If not, what would make you more interested in opera? If so, do you regularly attend opera productions? If not, how come? Ticket prices? Production quality? Uninteresting or unfamiliar repertoire?

Remember all those movies in the 80's that used arias and overtures as musical motifs? Moonstruck, Wall Street, The Hunger, A Room With A View, Raging Bull, Fatal Attraction -- just to name a few notable examples. Whatever happened to that fad? I suppose it just got played out, no pun intended.

And then there was the rather disastrous run on Broadway of Baz Luhrmann's retooling of La Boheme (the very early version of which I very vividly remember watching when it was on Great Performances as performed by Opera Australia about a million years ago). I had the rather amazing luck of seeing the production on Broadway, and it was about the most fantastic thing I'd ever seen on a stage in my entire life. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone else felt that way.

...but then wasn't it just a few years ago that everyone was mad for the Jerry Springer opera?

Leontyne Price -- 'Un Bel Di Vedremo' from Madama Butterfly

Alfredo Kraus -- 'Questa O Quella' from Rigoletto

Mary Costa -- 'Quando M'En Vo' (Musetta's Waltz) from La Boheme

James Levine and The National Philharmonic Orchestra -- Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana

In other news: Thanks to George for tipping me off to the new Herbert album, Scales. I'm unsure how I missed knowing about a UK dance/house/whatever music producer who uses live instrumentation (STRINGS! HORNS!) in addition to samples, but there you go. (Oh, wait -- he produced that Roisin Murphy album Ruby Blue -- aha!) Check out tracks Pound For Pound and Silence Is A Rhythm Too.

Also, I'm finding I have a soft spot for bizarro pop singer/songwriter (and Canadian) Hawksley Workman. As I mentioned elsewhere today, he hits the same part of my brain that appreciates Rufus Wainwright, Ed Harcourt, Josh Ritter, M. Ward, Harvey Danger (and Sean Nelson in general), Keren Ann, Cass McCombs, Kevin Tihista, and naturally, the biggie, Harry Nilsson. I'm especially attached to "No Sissies" and his rather lovely cover of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (via MOKB).

And: Here's a rather nice profile of Greg Dulli and a discussion of The Twilight Singers' Powder Burns from The Independent.

14 June 2006

Miscellaneous mid-week business. First and foremost, are you sure you don't want to buy my guitar? Think about it. Not shockingly, I didn't make it out to the Tapes'n'Tapes/Figurines/Cold War Kids show, even if I did have semi-good intentions; my allergies are really bugging me this week and I was totally exhausted last night.

Secondly, you remember mc DJ, right? He of the really fantastic Sufjan Stevens, Fiona Apple, and Feist remixes, among others? Well, he's just finished his first full-length record of original material, Utterances of the Heart; the whole album is really strong, though the spoken word tracks are a tiny misstep. They kind of wear thin after a few listenings. You can download the full album here, complete with cover art, or if you'd prefer a smaller, bite-sized sample, here's a few of my favorite tracks.

mc DJ -- Nightlife
mc DJ -- Attractive Idea

Also in heavy-ish rotation now is the new one from The Futureheads (out yesterday), News and Tributes. You may recall that we are very fond of the band's cover of "Hounds of Love," and their self-titled debut album. News and Tributes does not disappoint; though less skittish, there's still huge doses of XTC-ish manic urgency and those creepy, aggressive, gorgeous harmonies still deliver. Most importantly, though, it shows a more mature and focused band at work. (Bonus: all three songs below mention bodies of water...)

The Futureheads -- Back to the Sea
The Futureheads -- Hounds Of Love (Mystery Jets Private Invasion)
The Futureheads -- Danger of the Water

A bit of sad news: One of my favorite visual artists, Luis Jimenez, was killed in an accident in his studio earlier this week. My mom penned very lovely tribute to Mr. Jimenez and his work in her blog.

It is definitely Wednesday. Blah.

13 June 2006

It's one of those albums that will always sound timeless. That's right, load up Matthew Sweet's 1991 power pop masterpiece, Girlfriend, which is seeing a rerelease today on Sony's Legacy Recordings imprint (comprised of the remastered Girlfriend and the previously promo-only Good Friend: Another Take on Girlfriend, along with a few demo tracks previously only available as single b-sides as well), on to your iPod and tell me I'm wrong. Go on, I can wait here while you do it. Not that we're all about nostalgia 'round these parts as a general rule, so you'll have to forgive us as we get to reminiscing again. It was one of those moments that lives in a tiny jeweled chamber in my memory, where all the special moments in pop music are stored: I was watching MTV one afternoon, probably after school and bored out of my mind and doing a great job of avoiding my homework, when I first saw the video for Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend" in the fall of 1991. It completely blew my little mind; it looked and sounded like nothing I was familiar with, not at all. Well, that's not entirely true. I recognized the pop tropes Sweet wore proudly on his sleeve from my parents' record collection, but no one at that time was remotely interested in resuscitating that vintage pop sound of the 60's and 70's. This was at the cusp of when New Wave was tromped by Grunge; indeed, Sweet's sound stood out precisely because it was pure sugar-coated pop that was dark and melancholy to the core, instead of something parading around in all-black or flannel and distorted guitars, advertising its discontent with a sandwich board and a megaphone and smashed gear. It was way more subtle than that, and I really liked that. As for the visuals, I had friends who'd made me watch bootleg tapes of the Bubblegum Crisis anime series that summer, so I knew a little about Japanese animation, but at the time it all seemed so foreign and new, and goodness only knows how my friends knew about it back then, pre-Internet. Anyway, I was a broke teenager at the time, so I didn't run out and buy the record immediately; as a matter of fact, I didn't actually have a tangible copy of Girlfriend until I was babysitting for my junior english teacher (Ms. Wilde, if you're reading this -- thank you!). It was the same night I turned up my nose at the Singles soundtrack (save for the Paul Westerberg and Smashing Pumpkins tracks) but also discovered Sugar's Copper Blue in her CD collection as well. It was, in short, a goldmine -- I recorded everything meticulously (apparently, music pirating tendencies start early!), and I still have those tapes somewhere, warped by too many hot El Paso summers and too many rounds through the mechanical gears of car stereos cassette players and old-school Walkmen through the years. I loved the epic sweep of Sweet's feelings -- the album was written and recorded over the course of a divorce and falling in love again -- but the most wonderful part is the side-break between "Evangeline" and "Day for Night," where you can hear the record "flip" over even when you're listening on a cd. (Of course, that always leads me to add that it irks me that the CD "bonus" tracks -- "Holy War," "Nothing Lasts," and "Does She Talk?" have become known as part of the album proper and still feel bolted on after the finality of "Your Sweet Voice," but I know that's ultra-picky and weird of me to feel that way...) I remained a stalwart fan of Sweet's all the way through the release of his magnificent and sadly overlooked 1999 album In Reverse. I even, yes, wrote some plodding show reviews for the Matthew Sweet fanzine -- though the show in Bandera, Texas was an experience on par with seeing Interpol at Tulsa's Cain's Ballroom -- part of that whole "places I never thought I'd see a rock show" thing. Since then, however, I've been somewhat disappointed with Mr. Sweet's latest efforts: the mushy harmonies of Crosby Stills and Nash-esque side project The Thorns (with Pete Douge and Shawn Mullins) didn't catch my interest and 2004's solo album Living Things was his first release since 1990's Earth that founders, unfocused -- even with production assistance from Van Dyke Parks. Sweet's latest effort, a covers project with Susanna Hoffs also produced by Parks leaves me cold as well; this is an exceedingly difficult place to be as a fan, considering I respect the work of all three people involved. However, that doesn't detract in the slightest from my adoration for Girlfriend (and subsequent efforts Altered Beast (and Son of Altered Beast), 100% Fun, Blue Sky on Mars, and the aforementioned In Reverse). As a matter of fact, I've dug deep into my archive of Sweet rarities: I've got b-sides and covers galore for you -- I can't even begin to pick the best of the live and demo tracks that I have as well -- and this is the part of the story where I reveal that yes, it's true -- I have over eight hours of Sweet's material on my hard drive. Matthew Sweet -- My Pet Matthew Sweet -- If It's Happening You'll Know It Matthew Sweet -- Happiness Matthew Sweet -- Farther Down Matthew Sweet -- Dark Secret Matthew Sweet -- Silent City Matthew Sweet -- Do Ya (live) Matthew Sweet -- Lithium (live) Matthew Sweet -- She Said She Said (live) Matthew Sweet -- Let Me Be The One Matthew Sweet -- Magnet and Steel Matthew Sweet -- Speed Racer  (Links removed due to DMCA complaint.)

Pinkie would like to add the following (she emailed this over to me when I told her today's topic): When I dropped Matthew Sweet's "Girlfriend" during the middle of our SXSW party DJ set (right between The Waitresses' "I Know What Boys Like" and before Lush's "I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend" -- is there a theme here?), I realized that a) it had been at least ten years since I'd heard it (and that I still knew all the words including the exclamation of "alright!"), and b) that it's one of the greatest pieces of American powerpop ever penned. And because I'm not really a powerpop sort of girl, I don't bandy that title about lightly. In yesterday's discussion of The Hotness of Greg Dulli and the Legacy of the Afghan Whigs, Cindy outed me as former goth. While the Whigs made sense with the whole New Orleans connection and what all, the girl with a subscription to Propaganda wasn't exactly mixy with Matthew Sweet's ebullience and groovy jangle. In short, I should have hated "Girlfriend" and begged Dave Kendall to take me back to the Batcave, but the power of joy compelled me, and soon enough I found myself purchasing a cassette at the counter of Ear Doctor, wondering if I could ever master beauty akin to Tuesday Weld's covergirl grace. Several weeks ago, Girlfriend accompanied Cindy, her intrepid automobile friend Ted, and myself on a fantastic voyage from my apartment to Emo's, and I was struck by how well the entire album has weathered, and how -- more so than Sweet's early and later work -- Girlfriend has become part of the indie pop canon (that's pop, using "indie" as a modifier, not indiepop as a genre) alongside records like Big Star's Third Album, The Plimsouls' self-titled release, and early REM and British peers like Teenage Fanclub and the C86 and Glasgow school bands. Though Girlfriend's songwriting was nostalgic, looking back the Byrds and Beatles as well as Big Star, when Sweet seemingly burst onto the scene, his sound felt fresh and new to those, like myself, who were weaned on new wave, post punk, and -- as Cindy says -- "Twinkies and darkness." What I didn't know then (though I knew the Byrds and the Beatles, of course), was that Girlfriend was going to stay with me when most of the other American offerings of the 90s slipped away into oh-who-caresville, nor did I expect to be in the car with a friend fifteen years on, singing along with "Divine Intervention" and discussing the creepiness of "Winona," while speculating on whether the respective subject still has issues with sticky fingers. 

 For lack of more to say, the reissue of Girlfriend is neat, and hopefully through the miracle of modern marketing, Matthew Sweet's meta-nostalgic freshness will make the same dent in a mostly boring market that it did when it was released in 1991, and a host of kids lost in the drudgery and blame of emo (how bout that new AFI record?) will gain some musical context and interest in cruising around the neighborhood with the windows down instead of wasting time on MySpace. Then again, pigs might fly and hell may well freeze over (again, how bout that new AFI record? And is MAC sponsoring the new, improved Miss Havoc?), and we might be surprised by kids shaking it to something with a title as wonderfully insipid and wonderfully sincere as 100% Fun without a repeat of the sad event that inspired it. [N.B. See also: Kurt Cobain's suicide note.] Your next chance to hear "Goodfriend" [N.B. That's Cindy's seven-inch of "Girlfriend," btw, but you probably realized that...] is Friday, June 23 when TRGAW invades Emo's with New.Berlin and friends.

12 June 2006

First things first: So, who can get me on the list for the Tapes n' Tapes/Figurines/Cold War Kids show at Stubb's tomorrow? I'm only partially kidding. As a blogger & music journalist, I need to go, just to see what all the hoo-ha is about -- but as an actual human being who loves music, I don't really want to go, especially after the backlash that's been popping up everywhere as a result of this tour. But who knows, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and love the bands in question -- ha! (Ok, I kind of like The Cold War Kids already, but don't tell anyone...) Ok, so, guess it's time to fire off that email to the Beggars Group PR then...

Moving on: Once upon a time, a very long time ago, before Pinkie and I were best friends forever and the fabulous hipster tastemakers we are today, we were just two teenage girls growing up in the middle of nowhere in totally different parts of Texas. And we had totally different interests in music: Pinkie was a total Goth, I was more uh, folk-y, I guess. We both dabbled in "alternative," which you may recall, in the early/mid 90's was the catch-all phrase for everything from Nirvana to anything written about in Spin to stuff played on college radio. But something very special happened when we heard The Afghan Whigs' Gentelmen, a thousand miles apart. We fell for the music and the frontman; Pinkie looked a little beyond goth, I stopped listening to the Indigo Girls on repeat. Greg Dulli had cut his long mane, revealing the smokin' hot, dark, and mysterious man underneath, just as Gentlemen pulled back the curtain on the promise hinted at on The Whigs' earlier albums, Up In It and Congregation. We were smitten. [Handy visual aid, if ya need it...]

When Pinkie and I first met in late 2004 through a mutual friend, our very first conversation was about how we weren't generally into the frontman mystique, but all bets were off when it came to the utter hottness of Greg Dulli. I filled her in with regards to his latest project, The Twilight Singers, and how it was more than just The Afghan Whigs redux. The albums to date were the work of a mature artist and performer; the lyrics cut deeper, the music is a giant wall of sound, the Dulli persona more fully-formed.

We missed Greg Dulli and The Twilight Singers in the hectic madhouse that was SXSW this year, but caught the band at the Parish Friday night. It was hot and disgusting out (which is to say, a typical June night in Austin), but we got dolled up in our very best dresses -- because if you're not going to get dressed up for Greg Dulli, who are you gonna do it for? And we were handsomely rewarded; it was one of the best rock shows we'd attended in a long time. There's something to be said for the shambles and unpredictability of your average indie rock set, but sometimes you want the performer and the artist; you want intimacy and polish -- and all this (and more) is on offer. A Twilight Singers show is a debauched white-tent revival extravaganza, with seasoned journeymen in the backing band and (the still ravishingly attractive) Dulli taking on the two-faced role of the charismatic preacher and the devil ripe for exorcism -- all while smoking (because a performer working on stage isn't subject to the smoking ban), wailing on his vintage hollow body black Gibson, and crooning with the sexy, shattered wail of fallen angel. He shimmies like Elvis, drops to his knees like James Brown, hollers for the crowd to give him more, more, more. And we do, gladly, gratefully 'cause someone's come to redeem us in a haze of near-forgotten cigarette smoke and a sea of shakin' asses. The Twilight Singers (with Mark Lanegan), Afterhours, and part-time Austinite Jeff Klein continue to cut a swath across North America for the rest of the month; July and August will see them in the UK and hitting the high points of the Euro summer festival circuit. (Best moment of the night: When a guy hollered for Skynyrd -- as someone always does -- Dulli reminded the dude that covering Skynyrd never gets you chicks, and immediately launched into a delicious cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy."

Twilight Singers -- Teenage Wristband
Twilight Singers -- Underneath the Waves
Twilight Singers -- Too Tough To Die
Afghan Whigs -- Be Sweet

Also: are you interested in buying my barely-used acoustic guitar? I know you are! I'll consider shipping it if you're out of town, but naturally, I'd prefer a local buyer... Let me know!

And, if that weren't exciting enough, Pinkie and I will be DJ'ing with New.Berlin and assorted others, along with video artist ALCM at Emo's Corner Bar (6th and Red River) June 23, 2006 -- come by before or after the Sonic Youth show! More details to come, natch.

Bonus: The National -- Minor Star of Rome (from The Believer 2006 Music Issue) Oh, and Brian over at Bows + Arrows has the "Parisian Party Version" of "Lit Up." Both are one-take live studio recordings, if I'm not mistaken. Nicely done, guys!

09 June 2006

Short and sweet. Goodness, I can't believe I haven't mentioned anything about this all week; CONGRATULATIONS to TRGAW pals What Made Milwaukee Famous. They've (finally) signed with Seattle's Barsuk Records, a process I believe was sparked at SXSW 2005; I was talking with Barsuk empresario Josh Rosenfeld after the annual BBQ party when Drew Patrizi walked up and handed him a copy of WMMF's self-released album.

"Hey, I know those guys," I told Josh. "They're really good!" He told me that Mr. John Roderick was also a fan, which didn't surprise me in the least! Since then, rumors swirled that the lads would sign with Barsuk, but there was never any confirmation of this until a few days ago. WMMF has steadily gained attention over the past few years, especially after a national tour with The M's this spring, a star turn at the 2005 ACL fest, and a fantastic appearance on the "Austin City Limits" TV show, wherein they totally upstaged Franz Ferdinand. They'll be playing Lollapalooza this year (Aug. 4-6 @ Chicago's Grant Park), and Trying To Never Catch Up will be re-released on Barsuk on August 22 and features re-tooled track listing and new songs "The Jeopardy of Contentment, "Hopelist," "Judas," and "Sweet Lady."

What Made Milwaukee Famous -- Around The Gills
What Made Milwaukee Famous -- Hellodrama

This is as good a time as any to announce that our sister site, will be rebranded by mid-July as Four Inches From The Cuff, where Pinkie and I wll pontificate on life, music, crafts, and whatever else strikes our fancy. The reason I mention this is that our interview with What Made Milwaukee Famous, conducted in January and subsequently eaten by my computer and then magically rescued, will be our first post over at Four Inches From The Cuff. Don't worry, TRGAW that you know and love isn't going anywhere, we'll just be "presented by" FIFTC after mid-July.

Charming videos:
The Spinto Band -- Mandy (lovely, lovely animation)
The Males -- Slit-Wrist Teen Queen (I don't know much about The Males, other than that they're poised to be yet another buzz band out of the UK when "Slit-Wrist Teen Queen" is released in August.)

After a dearth of good rock shows lately, things are picking up again. I'm sure everyone will be at the Shellac show, but I think we'll finally be seeing the amazing, brilliant Greg Dulli and The Twilight Singers over at the Parish; Radio 4 and TRGAW faves The Hourly Radio will be there tomorrow night.

(Oh, hey -- do us a favor, would ya, and add us to your del.ici.ous and/or Technorati favorites, if you haven't already? Thanks!)
Late nite dance party, people -- get your Friday started early. Just one more before bed, promise! What could be better than The Gossip remixed by MSTRKRFT? Not much! Shake it before retiring for the evening and dig that cowbell. And holy crap, they weren't kidding about the 'relick' -- that is one nasty guitar bit the MSTRKRFT boys have popped into this song, right around the 1:50 mark. (And how could I forget this song when I was waxing rhapsodic about disco octaves the other day? Seriously, that was a major oversight!)

The Gossip -- Listen Up (MSTRKRFT Relick)

08 June 2006

Quick, like a bunny. I've got a number of unrelated, random things on my mind today. Because of The Thing With My Car (don't ask, really...), I've been getting a ride with a charming co-worker and getting up at 6:30 am. Most of you who know me personally will know that this is, well, unprecedented. I'm the kind of person who is constantly running 15 minutes late, but when you're on someone else's timetable, you don't have the ability to do that. It's been good for me, but as a result, I'm not quite as awake as I usually am, rising so early and all.

So, let's talk about a few things from NYC. Sadly, we didn't get a chance to meet up with the lovely Colleen or new transplants, the lovely Mr. & Mrs. Emry, which was a real bummer. I did speak with Miss Von Crumbcake on the phone though, and we had a totally giggly conversation that clearly proves that once we do get our timeframes matched up, we'll have a darn good time hanging out together, I'm sure.

Thing two: The Duke Spirit at the Mercury Lounge Sunday night. Apparently Jena Malone was there, but we didn't see her. However, I wish she'd been the girl standing in front of me (we were far stage right on the second-ish row) instead of the obnoxious, gigantic, and willowy girl-blogger who spent the entire show taking crappy flash pictures that she immediately emailed to her Flickr or her blog or something. And to do so, she kept leaning back into my personal space with absolutely no regard for the fact that oh, I don't know, I might find that just a little bit annoying. Let's just talk about this for a minute -- out of courtesy for the band, not to mention your fellow show-goers, people, learn how to use the exposure settings on your camera and use the flash as little as possible! For cryin' out loud, there are people standing around you also trying to enjoy the show -- plus, hello, you are blinding the band -- nice! Poor Pinkie had to endure an epic rant much like this one as we walked down Ludlow after the show; obviously I'm still not over it! Anyway, we barely survived loathsome openers The Colour, one of the only bands I really, truly hate more than anything. I've had the misfortune of seeing in two different cities, even, nearly two years apart (the last time was with The Like and Phantom Planet at Emo's in Aug. 2004, and they were just as horrible back then...). On!Air!Library offshoot Daylight's For The Birds is a lovely shoegaze project, but they're still suffering the growing pains of new bandhood; I think Pinkie liked them much more than I did. The instrumental part is really fantastic and holy cow, their drummer, Brad Conroy, is amazing. But it seems that new lead singer Amanda Garrett is still holding back a little and feeling out her role (which was formerly occupied by former On!Air!Library! vocalist Claudia Deheza) both vocally and in terms of her stage presence. I have faith, though, that she'll work it out.

As for The Duke Spirit, well. Look, there's something we need to get out of the way; as Texas girls, we absolutely do not throw around comparisons to Janis Joplin lightly. At all. But by the end of the night, both Pinkie and I were in agreement that frontwoman Leila Moss' stage presence and vocals lie somewhere between Axl Rose, Janis Joplin, and Iggy Pop. She taunts and teases the boys in the band, she stomps and shimmies and swings her parti-colored shaggy mane -- all while delivering a note-perfect performance (surely she must have perfect pitch...) -- in black leggings, black cowboy boots, and a little blue t-shirt accessorized with a trendy feather-and-charm gold necklace. But what's most interesting is that if ever the adage "I'm more man than you'll ever be, and more woman than you'll ever get" was applicable to anyone, it's Leila. At one point, as the band blared and chugged and rocked out in a blues-heavy fashion, I was actually worried that she didn't have an instrument to wank on like the other boys. My concern was quickly remedied when she began to manhandle her mic stand in rather uh, suggestive ways. Yes, I said "like the other boys" back there -- her sexuality clearly has a very masculine bent, but she's not butch in the slightest. Oh no. She's totally a sassy girl, but she's also totally just a dude.

The Duke Spirit -- Lion Rip
Janis Joplin -- Tell Mama (live)
Iggy Pop -- Sixteen (live)

In other news, French blog This Woman Coil has some tracks from No Wave pioneers Ut's last, Steve Albini-produced album Griller (1989). Incredible, elegant stuff -- even if it's not as raw as their earlier releases.

Hey, have you noticed that former Spin editor-in-chief Sia Michel, she who made editing a music glossy a glam hipster job, is over at The New York Times now? (Related: Pemberton fired at Spin after three months?) They seem to have her on a rather Spin-ish beat; she had an inauspicous debut in early May with a belaboured capsule review of The Red Hot Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium that contained a rather major error concerning the development of the term 'Californication.' (Plus, we can totally name about oh, a billion bands equally, if not more associated with Southern California than The Beach Boys and RHCP. No Doubt? Guns n' Roses? The Minutemen? Seriously!) Anyway, she also seems to be covering the shows that Kelefa Sanneh won't (or is he out on summer vacation?): Tapes n' Tapes at The Bowery and Joan Jett and The Blackhearts at Southpaw -- and pontificating on pretty Davey Havok and the glamification of AFI. I find this all very odd because Ms. Michel formerly covered hip hop and urban music topics for the Times (and other publications) in a really smart way. Her current pieces make it clear that though she was the managing editor of modern "alternative" rock tastemaker Spin, she's not exactly comfortable being ghettoized into actually covering the modern rock beat for the Times. Naturally, we hope that Ms. Michel's transition back to working at a daily becomes less bumpy over time.

The following songs are offered for no other reason than we heard these Monday night (and for added effect, here's one from Sunday too) at Black & White, where I was danced up by a charming boy (whose name is quite similar to mine and who, as we were leaving, was spinning a skippy copy of the first offering below) in a fashion that rivals the last time I was danced up at that Spinto Band show last summer. He was an awfully good lead and totally super cute.

Supertramp -- The Logical Song
Q Lazzarus -- Goodbye Horses
Nine Inch Nails -- Sin

Oh and, needless to say, the latest big winner of the summer is the new one from The Hidden Cameras, which was posted all over the place while we were gone. Check out tracks at Good Hodgkins (here and here) and Said the Gramophone (which also has a great Puffy Ami Yumi track, too). I don't think I'll ever get over missing The Hidden Cameras at SXSW this year -- after years of wating to see them play live! Well, at least I've finally seen The Duke Spirit now!
Goodness gracious! Everything is askew! Blogger was down for most of the afternoon. My financial situation is, at best, a hideous mess. And I'll be in meetings most of the day tomorrow!

But yes, thanks, that little break was nice. Pinkie and I totally bolted, not surprisingly, for what looks to be our last trip mixing business and pleasure to NYC. More on that later.

Until then, light a candle for me. Or send $5 to the Cindy Appreciation Fund -- either/or. (I'm kidding, natch -- but very soon I may not be. I mean, it worked for Kottke and that Karyn girl, right? Ha!) Seriously, though -- if you're a book collector type, drop me a line if you're interested in the purchase (make an offer!) of my near-complete set of McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #1-17 (#1-3 2nd printing, #4 autographed by Dave Eggers, #10 is the mass market paperback ed., and I'm missing #14 & #15 but they're still readily available.)

[Act now and Pinkie will throw in her Simon & Schuster uncorrected proof of Eggers' Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Note that Eggers was dropped from the Scribner group shortly after the release of this title, and is now with Random House. Secure this $1 value NOW!!! (She's kidding, but if you are an interested Eggers completist, feel free to make an offer.)]

Maximo Park -- Apply Some Pressure (radio edit)
Mazarin -- Another One Goes By (This track is very graciously covered by The Walkmen on A Hundred Miles Off; oh, and remind me to tell you my Mazarin story sometime! At any rate, their album, We're Already There, was one of the overlooked gems of 2005.)

Tidbits: Currently loving the spankin' new self-titled Ladyhawk record (they're totally where Bob Mould meets Rick Danko -- or something like that), and OMG, don't tell, but I'm smitten with UK popsters The Feeling -- I can't resist their delightfully unapologetic 70s AM Gold sound.

02 June 2006

Just when you think that your love affair with the mashup is finally over, you hear something like 2 Rebel DJs' "Love Will Tear You Apart (She Wants Originality)," which is a nice commentary on, you know ... marketing. She Wants Revenge vs. Joy Division vs. Bauhaus. Perfect. This one's for you, dude in the Wilco shirt and cargo shorts at the She Wants Revenge show, pumping your fist in what I assume was unintentionally ironic fervor. This one is SO for you.
There are times that you wish you had unlimited funds for record-buying. Last night was definitely one of those times. At Cheapo, someone had unloaded a huge collection (and I mean HUGE) collection of lady pop and country vocalists from the 1980's -- there was literally tons of Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell, Crystal Gale, Emmylou Harris, Juice Newton, Bernadette Peters... It was incredible. I really wanted them all. (Plus, adding to the sheer cheezeball factor, there was a copy of Now That's What I Call Music, Vol 1; aren't they in the 30s now?) I also took a turn by End of an Ear, where the used vinyl section is so, so dangerous. Need a copy of Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead" 10" picture disc? Or almost all the early works of Tom Waits? Some John Cale? All in really good condition? It was painful not being able to buy everything, and impossible to get out of there without anything. I'd gone in to unload a few records I'd culled from my bins, and instead of leaving with cash, I took home gorgeous copies of Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy, The Pixies' Doolittle (which, oddly enough, I've never owned, even on CD), and The Innocence Mission's self-titled debut from 1989 (it was my favorite record when I was 14, and it's still pretty good!).

Ok, here's a bit of Friday amusement for you, both from Lost In The 80's -- a huge retrospective of Stars on 45, which really must be read (and heard) to be believed and an interesting musing on what song could take the title of the first New Wave song. He suggests Sparks' "In the Future," (1975), and I just might be inclined to agree, but I'd need to give it more thought (early Roxy Music and early/mid 70's Bowie are also some likely culprits). Then again, there was a lot going on in 1974 & 1975 that one could point at too, though.

Sometimes the Indie Rock Renaissance of the last few years makes me think of this time in rock history (1970-1976), though I'm sure some purists would take me to task for thinking so! It happens on a pretty regular cycle, though -- the kids in the underground marry the electronic and the rock and eventually that bubbles up to the mainstream, which leads to a backlash and a resurgence of guitar rock, and it all starts over again. Does that mean we're in the third iteration of this cycle? It would appear so, I think. Or possibly, I'm just making this up, or someone's said it more eloquently somewhere else already.

Of course, all of this is completely unrelated to the fact that I planned to post some Shangri La's tracks today. No, really. It seems like everyone knows "Leader of the Pack" and "Remember (Walking In The Sand)," and Neko Case recently reinvigorated "Train From Kansas City" on her live album Tigers Have Spoken, but here's three (in that classic melancholy epic narrative style that makes the Shangri-Las so great) that get less attention (and highly recommended for anyone suffering from Pipettes fatigue and/or annoyance):

The Shangri-Las -- Give Us Your Blessings
The Shangri-Las -- Long Live Our Love (...this one is sadly still very relevant)
The Shangri-Las -- Past, Present, and Future (this one has a great uh, "sample," I guess you would call it, of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata)

...and, the original version of Harry Nilsson's "Everybody's Talkin'," which was written by culty and influential, but slightly forgotten, songwriter and folk singer Fred Neil, who had the most incredible deep, honey-dripping voice. As a bonus, his version of "Send Me Somebody To Love" -- which always gives me the chills, seriously -- is also included here.

Fred Neil -- Everybody's Talkin'
Fred Neil -- Everybody's Talkin' (live)
Fred Neil -- Send Me Somebody To Love

And, oh. Speaking of folky, coffee house singer-songwriters, I'm very picky when it comes to that kind of thing, but I seem to have a soft spot for UK-based Aussie M. Craft (not to be confused with you know, M. Ward, or anything). I guess it's possibly because he's got quite a jazzy bent (which some people have mentioned is a touch of the bossa nova) and the songs really move instead of meander. The Daily Growl has a clutch of Craft tracks here and here.

Okay, have a good weekend! No posts Monday and Tuesday of next week, but we'll be back Wednesday!
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