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Archives for 04/22/2007 - 04/28/2007

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Adrian Belew on Fire in the Cleveland Library

posted by on April 28 at 5:44 PM

Underneath Beachland Ballroom last night in Cleveland before our set, two bands played simultaneously in the two rooms above. In one, The Bears, featuring legendary avante guitar player, Adrian Belew. In the other, The Library is on Fire, featuring, The Library is on Fire.


Adrian Belew, of King Crimson, David Bowie, Zappa, and Nine Inch Nails.

I could hear both bands equally. Sounded like civil war with Belew technicolor shredding solos drifting in and out. Horrible cacophony with solid guitar work.

Fore a four minute stretch though, one of Belew’s abstract solos fit exactly within the garage mud of a Library on Fire song. The time signature, the key, the tone. Like they were playing together. I couldn’t believe it. A live mash up.

After the Bears set, Belew got me to help him try to fix his computer. He was having email problems and started telling me all his passwords.

His passwords aren’t half as interesting as his solos.

Re: Heavy Mental

posted by on April 28 at 5:33 PM

So it looks like the Killah Priest show at Nectar we’ve been looking for was in fact at one point set to go down: Seattle Weekly still lists the night on their website, even though Nectar says it’s closed that Sunday. No word on Nectar’s site as to why the show was canceled or if we’ll be seeing it in the future, so hopefully it wasn’t postponed indefinitely. Updates as we get them.


Reflections on Gay Sinatra and an Icelander Turned Neon Sultan: Coachella Friday Report

posted by on April 28 at 12:27 PM

Getting ready to return for day two of the Coachella festival, I’m of the opinion that if California destroyed the idea of peace, love, happiness, music and consumerism with Altamont, then they have just about made up for it. Life on the grounds of the festival, once you’re in, is heaven as Tim Burton would draw it. The biggest surprise of the festival this year is the visual appeal—while the sound quality in the valley is, well, at the level your average geek experiences inside his brand new Volkswagen Jetta, which is to say outstanding—the visual stimuli, what is there and what isn’t, one-ups the music.

Offering a “caption for the festival,” Rufus Wainwright told the crowd that “I look great but smell like shit…” which seemed about right… desert heat doesn’t make for good odors, but desert vistas, especially combined with an energetic gallery in the center of the festival, and, of course, the beautiful people on the many stages, make for something gorgeous. The two visual highlights, for me, would include then Bjork and her young Icelandic back-up band dominating the main stage—Bjork dressed in a polka dot shower curtain wrapped into a turban, her back-up band dressed in various shades of neon shower curtains worn as togas, carrying samurai style neon flags, standing under thousands of watts of blacklight. And then there was the sight of Canadian math teacher Peaches screaming out to curious Rage Against the Machine fans “Impeach my Bush”, clad in tight, gladiator style leather, standing atop a double bass drum, as the sun set over the valley.

Before that there were a number of remarkable performances, a number of likable musicians, with Bjork of course showing not only how to dominate a stage, but showing how to bypass affable and step into icon.

Extended coverage below…

Continue reading "Reflections on Gay Sinatra and an Icelander Turned Neon Sultan: Coachella Friday Report" »

Friday, April 27, 2007

Kinski To Tour With Tool

posted by on April 27 at 5:25 PM


Local instrumental aeronauts Kinski are hitting the road with apocalyptic rockers Tool (no Seattle date, sadly). From the band’s kinskispace blog:

We’re going on tour with Tool! For a month! It starts Monday! In Reno!
Here’s the dates:

30 Apr Reno , NV - Reno Event Center
02 May San Diego, CA - Cox Arena
03 May San Diego, CA - Cox Arena
05 May Las Cruces, NM - Pan American Center
06 May Tucson, AZ - Convention Center Arena
08 May Albuquerque, NM - Tingley Coliseum
09 May Colorado Springs, CO - World Arena
11 May Wichita, KS - Kansas Coliseum
12 May Council Bluffs, IA - Mid America Center
15 May Southaven, MS - DeSoto Center
16 May FT. Worth, TX - Ft. Worth Convention Center
17 May Bossier City, LA - Centurytel Arena
19 May Oklahoma City, OK - Ford Center
21 May San Antonio, TX - AT&T Center
22 May Corpus Christi , TX - American Bank Center
24 May Baton Rouge , LA - River Center
25 May Pensacola , FL - Pensacola Civic Center
26 May Birmingham , AL - Verizon Wireless Music Center

These places are big, so you should come and stare in disbelief.


(Thanks to hot tipper Dave)

Homophobic Christian Pop Punk

posted by on April 27 at 5:18 PM

Hot-tipper Kevin Erickson of Anacortes’ neato Department of Safety writes in with some concerns about next Tuesday’s MxPX show (emphasis mine):

Yesterday, the line out blog posted an item about an MXPX show being rescheduled.

I was wondering if you guys knew about the notoriously homophobic lyrical content of one of the opening bands, Hawk Nelson. On the title track from their album “Letter To A President,” they compare same-sex marriage to murder and date rape.

It seems like this band and Tooth & Nail, the Seattle-based label that releases their music (and that MXPX just re-signed with), deserves a little more critical press scrutiny.

Here are the lyrics Erickson refers to:

Same-sex marriage in a state where they don’t care
Murder is wrong but the jail time’s not fair
Not to mention date rape, felony, and car theft
Break it down and tell me what we’ve got left

Not exactly the most eloquent christian rock lyricists, are they? But they are pretty clearly placing same-sex marriage on a continuum that includes murder, NOT TO MENTION date rape, unspecified felony, and, um, car theft. Later they attack the twin scourges of underfunded schools and drug use with the kind of analysis that makes me suspect they’ve experienced some less-than-stellar education first-hand:

Take a good look at Tommy, he’s a track star
Good role model, had a chance to go real far
Then the school made a budget-cut
Cut out the track team
Now instead Tommy is a crack head

It’s no news that Tooth & Nail is responsible for some truly awful christian crap rock, but this could be a new standard of awful crappiness even for them. The show already had to move from the Showbox to El Corazon—what, Mars Hill was booked that night?—and hopefully that downward slide will continue until these douchetards are back to playing whatever suburban mega-church basement they crawled out of.

Heavy Mental

posted by on April 27 at 4:11 PM


We had a false alarm about an upcoming Killah Priest performance at Nectar; if it was once scheduled on their website, it isn’t now. Which is a bummer, because Mudede and I were getting all worked up over KP’s epic track “From Then till Now” from the movie Ghost Dog . A sample of the lyrics:

Prophets stand in the midst of the seven candlesticks
I can’t take it, beauty that was once sacred
Is now gettin’ facelifts, fake tits, and fake lips
Cold embraces
Memory erases from the slaveships.


We was the wisest and the richest, now we turn to snitches
Women turn to bitches, in the time of harvest
We was the smartest, worshipped wisdom like the goddess
Now we act retarded, forsook the wisdom of the fathers.

KP has always been one of the deepest, most metaphysical Wu-Tang lyricist, and that song is especially profound. So profound that Mudede formulated his entire EMP Conference paper around the song.

“From Then till Now” appeared on his debut solo album Heavy Mental back in 1998 but not on the Ghost Dog soundtrack for some reason.
You can check it out—along with a bunch of other KP tracks—on this streamable mixtape.

Dude’s husky, monotone flow has always been on of the Wu’s secret weapons, and RZA’s eerie, kick-snap beat is perfectly stark. That mixtape is apparently the lead-in to a new solo joint, The Offering, on its way in May.


posted by on April 27 at 3:58 PM

I was having a perfectly acceptable day.

I got to sleep in, my hair is doing everything it’s supposed to, it didn’t rain on me on my walk to work this morning even though I could tell the clouds really wanted to, and I finally got a perfect 100 on the level in “Yoshi’s Island” that has been driving me crazy for the past two days.

Then this had to happen


I found out Pete Wentz is opening a bar in New York that will…. wait for it… “…be like Shredder’s hangout in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2.”

(Link is to The Onion’s A/V club, and my friend Matt is the jerk who pointed it out to me and ruined my day.)

Jesus. Why do bad things always happen to good people!?

It’s so hard being me…

The Blakes vs. Steaming Turds vs. French T-Shirts

posted by on April 27 at 3:53 PM

Last night was another wildly successful Club Pop. Yacht did his incomparably spastic, enthusiastic thing, pausing only for a brief Q&A mid-set. The DJs, especially guest Marty Mar, kept things hot between acts. There was a mind-blowing revue between bands featuring some kids dressed as steaming turds and hungry flies belting out Paula Abdul (featuring Mc Skat Kat)’s “Opposites Attract” and TLC’s “No Scrubs.” Then there was the Blakes. The Blakes are just fine, but I don’t see anything too special about them. Their recorded songs are good but not great, and their set last night felt like a pastiche of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s leather jackets, the Lashes’ hair, and the Strokes’ bored posturing. But the kids liked them way more than the steaming turds.

Ari tells me they’re hot, but we know how she feels about boys with guitars. I don’t know if it makes me naive or jaded, but I’m kind of surprised that anyone’s still impressed by the leather jackets and shaggy hair. Shouldn’t the internets have disabused us of all our rock star mythologies/aesthetics by now?

Oh, but who am I to talk, when I’m so totally smitten with the glamour of So Me and Justice’s Parisian techno-hop t-shirt couture:

You Search All Day For Just a Taste

posted by on April 27 at 2:48 PM


It’s hard to pick a favorite song from Mirah’s Advisory Committee, but I’ve managed to do it. It’s the first track, it’s called “Cold, Cold Water,” and it’s the kind of song that, whenever I listen to it, I feel like there’s no way the world is a completely shitty place because something this fucking beautiful and perfect manages to exist in it. Dramatic? Yeah, totally. But am I exaggerating? Absolutely not.

Here. Listen to it. Love it.

The song kills me. The thunderous cymbals in the beginning, followed by the organ. Fuck. The haunting and echoing screaming towards the end makes me shiver. The lyric “I’m so number one that it’s a shame, a shame/That you let other numbers in the game” absolutely breaks my heart. And then the explosion of sound immediately after that line? Boom! Wow. And the plucking acoustic guitar standing out from the swirling strings… the big drums… it’s the prettiest epic song that has ever existed ever.

And then there’s her voice. Describing Mirah’s voice with words is impossible—it’s pointless and unfair to even try. And now I will proceed to listen to it no fewer than 25 times before being able to physically stop.

It’s the best song ever (this week). And forever.

A Metal-Themed Vegan Cookbook

posted by on April 27 at 12:53 PM


I recently picked up this vegan cookbook, free from the office: Please Don’t Feed the Bears by Asbjorn Intonsus (Microcosm, $9). Once I got it home and presented it to my vegetarian boyfriend, we opened it and found out that it’s a metal-themed vegan cookbook. Each recipe has a suggested metal album that you should listen to while cooking, and many of the recipes have cute metal names: Green Hell Sauce (recommended listening: Celtic Frost’s To Mega Therion), Extreme Noise Teriyaki Kabobs (Abruptum’s Obscuritatem Advoco Amplectere Me), and Dehumanization Roast (Necro Schizma’s Erupted Evil). Extreme Noise Teriyaki Kabobs—that’s hilarious! (According to AK Press’s website, this cookbook is similar to Soy, Not “Oi!”—a punk-rock vegan cookbook.)

This is a well-rounded cookbook, with appetizers, entrées, desserts, side dishes, drinks (including homemade soy milk and teas), breads, and miscellaneous items, like power(violence) bars, cheeses, dog biscuits, cough syrup, teeth whitener, wheat paste, a homemade tattoo gun.

There’s also an impossible metal crossword puzzle. Some sample questions:

“Pisen Pro Satana” from Root has essentially the same guitar line as the guitar line from what Bathory song?

The drummer on Death’s Scream Bloody Gore LP later went on to form what band?

What was the full, longer name that Slayer initially considered using?

Uh… what? I obviously don’t know the intricacies of metal. But, I was able to correctly answer one question:

What does NWOBHM stand for?
New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, motherfucker!

I thought I knew the answer to “What was the demo version of Metallica’s ‘Four Horsemen’ called?”—but I looked it up later, and I was wrong. (It’s “The Mechanix.”)

So far we’ve only tried two recipes: Don’t Tread on Me Tofu Loaf (we did not listen to Militia’s Regiment of Death) and Burned Up, Bled Dry Bacon (we did not listen to Flames of Hell’s Fire and Steel).

The tofu loaf was pretty good, but not stellar. My boyfriend added some veggie broth to it, fearing it would be too dry, but that ended up making it a bit too moist. The finished product had the consistency and taste of stuffing, which I detest. I cooked up a vegan gravy I’d found a recipe for last Thanksgiving; pouring that all over the tofu loaf made it better.

The bacon, also made with tofu, was tasty. We’ve made this twice: once for BLTs, and once with waffles and a tofu scramble. It’s somewhat similar in taste to store-bought veggie bacon, and the key ingredient is liquid smoke. The recipe calls for nutritional yeast as well, but we didn’t have any of that; it might’ve made it even better.

There’s an “interview” with Carcass at the end, which is actually just questions and answers compiled from other Carcass interviews, and there are lots of little stories and philosophical blurbs. Very zinelike.

We’re looking forward to making a chocolate tofu pie.

Canadian Content! Be Warned!

posted by on April 27 at 11:06 AM

In the 1970s, Canadian lawmakers chose to codify into law how much music made up of Canadian content radio stations played. During that early period of Can-Con (Canadian Content), the number was 25 percent. In the ’80s, the percentage was raised to 35 percent.

Slightly controversial at first (why should Canadians be forced to listen to Canadian music?), the law eventually found some admirerers. Without it we Canadian artists would have had a harder time becoming popular, and the greater world would have probably not been introduced to talents such as Bryan Adams, Corey Hart, Nick Gilder, Aldo Nova, Barenaked Ladies, Men Without Hats, Alannah Myles, Glass Tiger, the Crash Test Dummies, Triumph, Chilliwack, Anne Murray, Alanis Morissette, Loverboy, Shania Twain, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Tragically Hip, Nelly Furtado, and Celine Dion! (Okay, that whole paragraph was practically a joke.)

Can-Con had a large impact on disco, allowing Canadian disco artists the oppurtunity to have their tunes heard on radio stations that, because of FM, were being beamed over the border to American cities that had large populations who were getting down.

Today’s post offers you two glorious 12-inch singles in their whole, to show you the wonder of the Hi-NRG disco that was coming out of the Montreal area and being beamed to cities like New York, Chicago, and Detroit. You can go to my blog to download the songs from these two out-of-print singles.

MTL Express - “Dance All Night” is Hi-NRG disco with a heavy bass beat.


Night Road - “Get Down” is very early Italo house/electro with fantastic synth breaks and vocoder lyrics.


By the way, this logo was on both records.


It stands for Music (the Music must be Canadian), Aritist (the artist must be Canadian), Production (recorded wholly in Canada), Lyrics (written by a Canadian). A song must fulfill two of these four conditions to qualify as Canadian Content.

More about Canadian Content can be found here, at Wikipedia.


posted by on April 27 at 10:50 AM

The great cellist Mstislav Rostropovich has died. The NY Times has a thorough obituary, yet words cannot compare with the maestro making music.

Slava was a fine conductor too; his EMI/Angel recording of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, one of Shostakovich’s bravest works, is a must-hear.

Carly’s Britney Disease Dream

posted by on April 27 at 10:25 AM

The Catch and U.S.E.’s Carly Nicklaus sent me this dream:

i had a dream the other night that i shaved my head with a razor. i looked in the mirror and saw that i looked exactly like britney spears and i was really sad. then this doctor that i had seen sat me down to give me my diagnosis, but as soon as he started talking my ears starting ringing with the loudest sound ever. and it sucked, because somehow i knew that he was trying to tell me that i had some terrible disease, but i couldn’t hear anything over the ringing in my ears. then i realized that the ringing was the sound of u.s.e’s keyboards, really loud and feeding back.


Let us loosely analyze:

Continue reading "Carly's Britney Disease Dream" »

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Blakes, Chop Suey, Tonight…

posted by on April 26 at 5:05 PM

I’m not sure if it’s because a certain member of the band is a veteran of The Stranger’s circulation team or what, but I think The Blake’s deserve a smattering more love than they seem to get, for they do, indeed, rock my fucking socks. I haven’t had the chance to see them live since their set last New Year’s Eve at Vito’s, but lo! The drought is over! They are playing this evening at Chop Suey , and I suggest you join me. (Sorry for the late notice, I’ve been drunk in a ditch.) It’s 18+, $6, and features other people too, but it’s The Blakes were talking about here. Let’s focus.

Ain’t they precious?


Tooting My Horn

posted by on April 26 at 5:04 PM

Further bolstering my argument that trumpet is the indie-rock instrument du jour, last night the Walkmen played with a trumpet for their entire set. A trombone too—but still, it was a brass section, notably devoid of saxophone. Go trumpet!

Also, let it be said that the Kaiser Chiefs have a couple good songs and a lot of mediocre ones.

Sex Vid Tonight

posted by on April 26 at 5:01 PM

Just received this correction from the fine folks at Wall of Sound:

Not sure if you can help or not, but I was hoping to have a correction run on the Line Out/Slog regarding tonight’s Sex/Vid show. They are playing only ONE show tonight and it is at the Rendezvous. Show starts at 10:30pm (Gentlemen of Leisure open the show). The Stranger accidentally printed incorrect information regarding tonights fun.

But the meat of Trent Moorman’s preview for the show remains applicable. Check it:

SEXVID, WEIRDLORDS, OS COYOTES (Comet) SexVid seem to only play rare basement shows. Their following is hard and cult. Now two shows, two clubs, one night? Out of character for the hardcore mystics. On the other side of their practice-space wall, SexVid initially sound like a cat in a piranha pond. However, once their destructive noise settles into your ear, you realize they’re tight as shit. It’s like they’re driving a tank through an obstacle course for compact cars. Somehow they don’t knock over a single cone and their parallel parking is spot on. But once SexVid receive their perfect driving-test score, they take another turn and run over all the other cars, smooshing them like indie-rock pancakes. TRENT MOORMAN

MxPx Show Moves to El Corazon

posted by on April 26 at 4:17 PM

If you have tickets for MxPx’s show at the Showbox next Tuesday, it’s been moved to El Corazon. Here’s the lineup again:
Tuesday May 1st (ALL AGES/BAR W/ID)
Mike Thrasher & 107.7 The End Present
The Tooth & Nail Tour Featuring
Hawk Nelson
The Classic Crime
The Fold
$18 ADV/$20 DOS
Doors 7pm
Show 7:30pm

Prinzhorn Dance School Cancel US Tour

posted by on April 26 at 4:10 PM

Pitchfork reports today that the recent DFA signees have been denied visas, which means they won’t be opening for LCD Soundsystem next Wednesday at the Showbox (but of course you should still go), and suddenly this becomes, frighteningly, a little more plausible…

And Now For Something I’m Not Afraid to Admit

posted by on April 26 at 2:45 PM

I love Invisible Touch-era Genesis.

That’s right. I said it.

Argyle and Anti-Depressants

posted by on April 26 at 1:18 PM

When I walked into the Crocodile last night, a band called 17th Chapter—a quintet with an acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, bass, and keyboard—were playing a slow song. It only lasted for about 45 more seconds, and I’m still not sure if it was good. “We’re gonna push a rock song on ya now… with a big rock intro,” said the singer. Folks cheered.

The band proceeded to play something that sounded like a Who version of an eight-bit Nintendo song. There’s a problem with that and the problem is this: the Who are epic, eight-bit Nintendo videogame music is not (unless played by the Advantage). 17th Chapter’s “big rock intro” was more Zelda than it was Who, therefore not epic at all. As for the rest of the song, it became obvious that 17th Chapter are what I like to call fratern-indie rock. Get it? They’re indie rock in spirit, but frat-like in execution. Clever, right? I know.

The singer was wearing a navy blue argyle sweater vest over a white t-shirt, and he had on a plain black trucker hat with sprouts of blonde hair curling out from underneath. The bassist was really into himself. He flaunted flashy rockstar moves like posing the guitar as a big cock and grimacing through his pair of aviator shades. I could see them doing really well at the Gorge opening for the Wallflowers or something, while the drunk, halter-top wearing hippie girls put off getting stoned for 10 more minutes because the singer’s “totally hot.”

I only watched two songs.

As for the next band, the Hungry Pines, well (bias aside, a friend of mine is in the band), they were better. The ladies were lovely, the men were handsome, and none of that has anything to do with the music, which was great.

I’ve seen the Hungry Pines before. It was back in September at the Comet. At the time I had never heard of them but I was impressed. Since then, the one-time trio—Lucas Carlyle, Irene Barber, and Chrysti Harrison—have added bassist Bryce Shoemaker (of Joules and Bronze Fawn), so their sound is bigger, more complete than before.

As for everything else I said about the band back then, well that all stands:

Irene’s voice is gorgeous. As smooth and pretty as Chrissie Hynde, but with a little bit of a bite…they were surprisingly mellow, with a darker and sexy PJ Harvey vibe at times.

Okay, so the PJ Harvey thing might be a little off now. Last night they were brighter than PJ Harvey. And not as mellow as I remember either. So maybe it’s like PJ Harvey on anti-depressants? Maybe. Or maybe it’s not at all.

You can listen to them here.

Part Of The Weekend Never Dies

posted by on April 26 at 12:15 PM


Soulwax, Muscles, DJs Dave P & JDH - Chop Suey, 04/25/07

Soulwax took the stage about 45 minutes late due to some delays at the airport (apparently, a tornado touched down at O’Hare yesterday). But when they finally did take the stage, it was worth the wait. They launched right into their rockist cover of Daft Punk’s shout-out “Teachers,” and for a moment I thought they’d play the whole of Nite Versions in order. In fact, they did play the entire record, but they mixed up the order a bit.

Their stage setup included Stephen Dewaele on vocals and laptop (I think it was a laptop, but it was obscured by some weird case), David Dewaele on synths, another keyboardist, and a rock-solid drummer with four different cowbells. Their faithful live renditions of their own remixed tracks were totally overwhelming—huge drums, scathingly modulated synths, little vocal clips, occasionally singing from Stephen. It’s hard to pick favorites (especially as the tracks often blended into or sampled from each other), but “E Talking,” “Miserable Girl,” and ” NY Excuse” were all outstanding. Their entire set was just incredible.

It was getting late, and I wondered how they were going to have time to DJ, to “fuck up other people’s music.” But they were able to do that without even leaving the stage for the DJ booth. They had already played a cover of Tiga’s “Move My Body” (the Dewaeles are regular collaborators of Tiga’s), and they went on to do brief covers of Tiga’s “You Gonna Want Me,” Tomas Andersson’s “Washing Up,” and Justice’s “Waters of Nazareth” in medley. It was off the walls.

They did manage to DJ a bit after their set, but everyone was pretty spent by then. Their set behind the decks leaned more towards the heavy techno of Nite Versions than the mash-up frenzies of the 2 Many DJ mixes, and that seemed for the best.

Muscles is an Australian recently signed to Modular Records on the strength of a couple mp3s (“Ice Cream” and “Chocolate, Raspberry, Lemon & Lime”). His set consisted of him singing in a terribly earnest off-key, sounding frequent “whoo”s, and playing the odd keyboard part to compliment his cheesy, euro-dance backing tracks. It was pretty weak, and dude would do well to get himself a vocoder.

Dave P & JDH didn’t have me sold with their first warm-up set, but when they went on in between Muscles and Soulwax, they brought it hard. I don’t recall any tracks standing out, but the whole set was just a massive rave-up for Soulwax, and it definitely got the crowd going.

Somewhere Over the Theremin

posted by on April 26 at 11:34 AM

Sound Check is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania today with composer / engineer, Andrew Vernon talking about the theremin.

The theremin is a niche instrument made by Russian inventor, Léon Theremin, in 1919. It creates an electric field via two radio frequency oscillators. Objects moving through the field produce sound. It’s difficult and odd to play. There aren’t really notes and you’re basically just grabbing at air. The signature, high pitched, legato – vibrato was first and often heard in old horror and sci-fi movies because it has that psychotic photon nightingale quality.

Andrew says temperature changes really mess with the pitch of the oscillators. It’s tough in the winter. His particular model is a Big Briar Etherwave Theremin.

He will serenade you with its beauty:

The Teenagers - “Homecoming”

posted by on April 26 at 11:00 AM

If you pay any attention to the world of euro-centric blog-house—AND WHO DOESN’T?!?—you’re probably already familiar with Franco-Anglo P2P rockers the Teenagers. They’ve produce scrappy remixes for the likes of New Young Pony Club, Crystal Castles, and Au Revoir Simone, and they’ve written a handful of their own twisted ’80s prom pop. Of their originals, none are as catchy as the he said/she said, ugly-american bashing, kinda misogynistic song “Homecoming.” Now they have a nostalgic, grainy, American Apparelsploitation video to go with it, and it’s pretty much perfect:

Sun, Water and Rock n Roll— Coachella 2007

posted by on April 26 at 1:14 AM

This year I’ll be attending my first Coachella Festival, which means three days in the California desert watching the likes of headliners Bjork, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against the Machine, but also the more hip of college and indie radio, including The Black Keys, Of Montreal, Rodrigo y Gabriela, The Roots, Amy Winehouse, Peaches and Kings of Leon.

A few things strike me as a make last minute preparations for the trip. 1) No band looks cool once you’ve wandered through their MySpace—reading the Kings of Leon MySpace, for example, makes me think that they’re trying to psyche up for a forthcoming high school reunion. 2) Didn’t we need Rage Against the Machine in 2004? Explaining their reunion, Tom Morello told NME that “”It occurred to all of us that the times were right to see if we can knock the Bush administration out in one fell swoop, and we hope to do that job well.” 3) In a few hours, I’ll be watching bands I’ve been listening to for years, (through albums, not, mercifully, their MySpace pages), but I’ll be seeing these icons in the unforgiving California sun while lining up for bottled water. There’s something geeky and pure in that.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Nina Simone Sings Summer Camp Hits

posted by on April 25 at 4:35 PM

This is astounding.

I went to Jewish summer camp for eight years of my life (and escaped mostly unscathed). One of the songs we used to sing in the dining hall after dinner was an Israeli folk tune called “Eretz Zavat Chalav”—“Land of Milk and Honey.” We jived it up with hand claps and table slaps as much as we could, but no way could we compare to this miraculous, soulful rendition done by Nina Simone and a small jazz combo.

I can’t believe she even sang the song in the first place. YouTube, you amaze me. And Nina, you were a goddess.

The White Stripes, “Icky Thump”

posted by on April 25 at 1:56 PM


The title track from the White Stripes’ upcoming Icky Thump album went live on XFM radio today. It’s available for streaming at WebVomit.

Jack does a little signifyin’, almost rapping his verses and getting political: “Who’s shooting who? What should we do? You can’t be a pimp and a prostitute too.” Tweako Nintendo breakdowns and dimwitted, big balled drums push the track into the realm of tastefully weird.

There Was a Time When I Was So…

posted by on April 25 at 1:31 PM

This morning on the bus, the guy sitting behind me had this song blasting from his headphones:

It’s been at least a decade since I’ve heard it. Or remember hearing it, at least.

I remember watching this video in 1993. It was summer and I had just turned 13. For a short time (really short, like a week or something) I was obsessed with this song. I really, really wanted to be Alicia Silverstone and I really, really wanted that car. And, if given the chance, I probably would’ve jumped off a bridge to spite an ex-boyfriend. I didn’t have a boyfriend when I was 13, though, so I never got to do that.

I no longer want to be Alicia Silverstone. I realized that on the bus this morning.

Happy Birthday Ella

posted by on April 25 at 1:30 PM

Today would’ve been Ella Fitzgerald’s 90th birthday.

Here she is singing the songbook classic “April in Paris” in 1957.

Nice, but I have to admit I like the Billie Holiday version better…

Secret Show Not So Secret

posted by on April 25 at 11:27 AM


Next Wednesday’s LCD Soundsystem Show…

posted by on April 25 at 10:30 AM

Just got a lot more, um, interesting:


Tiny Vipers + Cornelius = Sensory Overload

posted by on April 25 at 9:51 AM

Went to two great, utterly different shows last night. First up was Tiny Vipers, who provided a musical interlude during the Miniature Art Extravaganza at Pretty Parlor.

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Even though her songs are stripped-down and (mostly) quiet, Jesy Fortino exerts this presence that commands attention. It’s been quite a while since I saw a roomful of hipster kids so hushed and engaged (although several patrons, myself included, forgot to turn off cell phone ringers — oops!). I’ve been enjoying the Tiny Vipers self-released/demo CD for a while now, but last night she really clicked with me. Her voice has a reedy, woody quality — a la Jesse Sykes in “old crone” mode, or the non-operatic sister in CocoRosie, or even Joan Baez — that grabs the ear. I’m stoked to hear her Sub Pop debut, Hands Across The Void, more so than ever now. July 24? I can’t wait that long!

Next up was The Cornelius Group’s “Sensous Synchronized Show” (la musique du 21 siecle) at El Corazon. I knew I loved his new CD, but damn! It was completely the opposite of Tiny Vipers’ intimacy, about as full-on a multi-media experience as one can expect without scratch & sniff cards or a fog machine. (No tastes, either, but my jaw was on the floor for much of the show, so that’s close.) The show opened with panels of primary colored lights flashing on a suspended screen, while the musicians played behind. “It’s so Fantasia!” remarked one of my buddies, before noting that this would be a good time for the drugs to kick in (if we’d taken any). And I knew it was going to be a treat when the curtain fell and I saw that all four band members had their own wind chimes!

The set went from gentle to pummelling hard rock and back again, and the complementary videos and light show were mesmerizing. (One of the security guys rightly expressed awe that the venue hadn’t been required to post signs warning patrons of possible inducement of seizures from the spectacle.) At one point, I felt like the entire Talking Heads catalog had exploded inside my noggin, and then the Free Design dropped by to gently sweep up the mess. By the time I left the venue, I’m sure if someone had lopped off the top of my skull and peered inside, they would have just found a blob of guava jelly embedded with some sputtering Christmas tree lights where my brain used to be. Bravo!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Vegetable Orchestra

posted by on April 24 at 5:23 PM

(Hat Tip to Jeremy Grant)

How Not to Get Your CD Reviewed

posted by on April 24 at 4:07 PM


There are only three dedicated music writers here at The Stranger (and there’re a couple of other staffers who regularly weigh in on musical matters). There is no reason to send us six—SIX!—copies of your CD. It’s just so wasteful.

We all have iTunes connected by a network, and more to the point, we regularly pass CDs around to each other. You don’t have to carpet bomb us with plastic for anyone/everyone to hear your record. And, yes, I know that by addressing this particular affront, I lend some validity to their method—it got my attention, right? But rest assured, nobody wants to review these CDs after being so needlessly bombarded by them.

Trans Am @ Neumo’s

posted by on April 24 at 3:26 PM

Actually, I missed Trans Am because I left early and they went on late.

Dammit. I hear they’ve been slaying it on this tour. I bet they were really good.

I know that openers Zombi were really good, totally synth-tastic. Take the synthy ominous-ness of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine,” the energy of the intro to “Jump” by Van Halen, and Styx’s headiest prog grandeur; put a ridiculously large drum kit behint it; crank up the volume and the impending dread factor; and you’ve got this instrumental two-piece from Pittsburgh. A mesmerising blend of warm analog keys, shivery chordal drones, and flamboyant percussion, they sounded like evil anime clowns with feathered hair piloting a hovercraft Camaro.

Black Taj, the opening band on the bill, swerved from pretty good to not so good. Their blues-heavy boogie riff-rock with an improvisational flair led to a great time on stage and unspooled some pretty catchy hooks. But when the rhythm guitarist interrupted a roaring extended jam to step up and sing they lost all their mystique. Sometimes it’s beat to keep your mouth shut.

“You don’t like us. I can tell.”

posted by on April 24 at 1:39 PM


There was row of kids pressed up against the stage at last night’s So Many Dynamos show. They were anxious for bands to come later that night, though, and not so interested in SMD, the opening act on a four band bill, and the awesome that was currently smacking them right in the face.

After a few songs the band’s goofy guitar player noticed one polo-shirt wearing 16 or 17-year-old kid who just wasn’t buying it. “You don’t like us, I can tell,” he said to the less than amused audience member. “You’re only in the front row to see the other bands. You don’t like us. I’m okay with that. I just wanted to let you know that I know.”

Some others warmed up to them after that, dancing a bit, bobbing their head. It was partly in fear of being light-heartedly chastised in front the crowd but also partly because SMD’s synth-laced pop rock is so infectious. I hope a few kids walked away new SMD fans because I think that band’s fantastic. It’s gotta be heard being the warm-up act. The band really didn’t fit in with the rest of the bill—The Number 12 Looks Like You and Horse the Band—but at least they had a sense of humor about it.

Ray, You Done Me Real Wrong

posted by on April 24 at 11:10 AM


At a truck stop outside Philadelphia doing laundry. There’s a masseuse and a bunch of “terrorist attack” video games. These men don’t drink light beer. Jacked up, dip spit, diesel fumes, and fishing magazines.  

Had some bad spinach in NY at a place called Ray’s. Something within my body battles. Real bad. Haven’t eaten anything in twp days but Pepto tablets and half a crunchy peanut butter Cliff bar. Thinking about food makes me sick. The shitter is a land mine.  

Feel weak. The equipment gets heavier and heavier to lift and load. Had a show in DC at the Black Cat. I intermitantly slept and shat until start time. Played okay, didn’t have to run to the bathroom. Hope I’m on the mend. Philadelphia tonight.

I’m never eating spinach again.

Other Music Digital Store

posted by on April 24 at 9:44 AM

God help me and my credit card—NYC boutique Other Music has finally opened its online digital download “store.” What a refreshing change from iTunes or eMusic, to click on a service and see the Top Tracks right now include selections from Arthur Russell, Panda Bear, and Josef K. The pickings seem a little lean right now, but OM is promising “plenty of exclusives, rarities, great new music, and amazing reissues on the way” as they add new partners, and additional site features in the coming months.

Monday, April 23, 2007

In One Hour and 52 Minutes…

posted by on April 23 at 5:08 PM

This band will play.


It’s So Many Dynamos, and they’re going to take the stage at El Corazon at 7 pm and I will be there to dance. Okay, probably not dance, because I tend to not do that in public places, but I’ll be there watching them and thinking about dancing and wishing that I didn’t look like such a moron when I try to move my legs and arms at the same time to any kind of beat.

Here’s what I wrote about the band back in October 2006:

(Paradox) So Many Dynamos? So much awesome! They sound like Death Cab for Cutie covering Q and Not U, but with the fellas in Dismemberment Plan manning the boards. Seriously. Innovative and spastic, poppy and electric—it’s fierce, it’s explosive… goddammit, have I written enough adjectives yet? Pick up their latest release, Flashlights, on Skrocki Records, if only to hear “Progress.” It’ll make you wanna do the robot. Then you can backtrack to their debut record, When I Explode (also on Skrocki), which is the perfect album to listen to while you wave your hands in the air and jump around like the rock ‘n’ roll—loving fool you are. MEGAN SELING

Tonight they play with Light This City, the Number 12 Looks Like You, and Horse the Band.

I can only comfortably recommend SMD, though. I’m stoked.

“Kids Don’t Care About Robert Christgau,” or The EMP Pop Conference

posted by on April 23 at 4:15 PM

During the final event in a long weekend of geeking out about music, an open discussion about “The Future of Thinking About Music For a Living,” Pitchfork news editor Amy Phillips stood up in a Thermals t-shirt and told a room full of critical and academic heavies that they are basically dinosaurs. “Kids don’t care about Robert Christgau or Simon Reynolds,” she said (Christgau had left to catch a plane, but Reynolds was still there, and he seemed rather unconcerned about these “kids”). Phillips went on to say that kids want their music (and presumably their musical discourse) fast, yesterday even, that they want to hear their own voices online, and that critics no longer have the “luxury” of taking time to think about music.

Of course this upset a few people. Taking time to think about music is the nature of the job, they said, or in the words of Tim Kipp, “We can’t accept The Death of Rumination, or of cognition.” At the edges of all this conversation was the fear (perhaps stronger for young critics than for veterans) that the “Future of Thinking About Music For a Living” might not look that bright.

It was an important discussion to have, but it was also kind of a sour way to end a weekend full of awesome, even luxurious, thinking about music.

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Caltrops and Snot

posted by on April 23 at 3:57 PM

The Stranger’s music section is in need of a new intern. Should you for some reason have any desire to work at this crummy fishwrap, send a resume, cover letter and writing sample to Qualified applicants should have a keen eye for detail and functional use of most of their motor skills.

Expect to spend three to four to six months exercising your data processing capabilities on club calendars, doing more data entry, fact checking facts, keeping Copy at bay from staff writers using whips and caltrops, and doing more data entry. Then, with your new-found journalism cred, write a book. Travel to South America. Or, you can just move into a warehouse with a bunch of dirty, drunken scumbags to build a studio and start a band (like, uh, me). Whatever you do, start here.

Bang Your Head on the Punk Rock

posted by on April 23 at 3:43 PM

Ok, the Cute Lepers/Operation S/Spits show wasn’t last night, but it sure feels like it. It was Saturday, and I STILL have terrible headbanger’s neck and a lingering hangover from the super-fun Funhouse show. It was the Cute Lepers first-ever gig (new ones to watch with members of the Briefs and the Girls); the first time I’d personally ever seen French new-wavers Operation S; and the millionth time I’ve seen the Spits. The Spits are like Slayer. You don’t walk away from a show without at least a few new bruises (or firecracker burns), their fans are insanely devoted (or just insane), and every time they play it’s tougher (and crazier) than the last….


Now if I could just remember that I’m too old to head bang, or drink more than one can of Sparks.

Magic Machines

posted by on April 23 at 12:00 PM


Lucky Dragons, Eats Tapes, Powdered Wigs - Gallery 1412 - 04/20/07

My original idea for this Eats Tapes piece was to have the article broken up into sections based on different pieces of the band’s gear, with numbered headers corresponding to instruments on a chart or photograph of their live set-up. That didn’t pan out—the band didn’t have a high-quality image of their tabeltop array, and without that, the structural device seemed kind of awkward. (Forgive me if this is a bit too nerdy and navel-gazing, but I have been at the EMP Pop Conference all weekend). The point being, as I bluntly put it in the article’s conclusion, that their magic lives mainly in their machinery. And this would prove to be a theme for all three of Friday night’s musical performers at Gallery 1412.

Lucky Dragons


Headliners Lucky Dragons possessed perhaps the most surprisngly magical machinery of all. The one-man band’s set-up consisted of a laptop connected to a small metal box from which sprouted four rainbow-colored cords with loops at their ends. He passed these cords off, by their ends, to audience members, who then held hands and passed the cords around. The audience acted as human resistors to the circuit formed by the cords, with number of people touching the loops or touching each other controlled the blipping arpeggios and serene sine waves being produced. It sounds like a sterile science project, but it was more like a sound-art cuddle puddle—every bit as awesome as that sounds.

Eats Tapes


With Eats Tapes, I knew more or less what to expect—wildly oscillating, acid-drenched techno aerobics—and they didn’t disappoint. Eats Tapes have a knack for transforming usually stuffy environments (straight-edge punk houses, art galleries) into sweaty dance parties, and theirs was the only set of the night for which people actually stood up (and got down). They managed to find room for the TR-909 drum machine that they talked about in the article, and it was only one of maybe a dozen little knobby boxes on their high-voltage table. Watching Eats Tapes, you begin to appreciate the physical relationship the duo has with their gear. As their frantic songs build up and unwind, the pair lean over countless switches and buttons, reaching out for different controls by what seems like muscle memory alone. However they do it, it makes for one of the most exciting live electronics shows I’ve ever seen.

Powdered Wigs


For every rad techno party and mind-blowing, hi-tech love-in, there’s a boring, self-indulgent performance artist with a couple of Casios and a cheap behringer mixer (no, not you, Little Party). Tonight that dubious honor belonged to Powdered Wigs, whose dull blasts of sound and keyboard-humping histrionics were utterly boring as either music, sound installation, or performance piece. Nice mustache, though.

A Number of Names - “Shari Vari”

posted by on April 23 at 11:47 AM

A commenter on my Detroit video post wondered what the track was in the 2nd video. I answered in the comments with that info. (A Number of Names’ “Shari Vari”), but after the videos were posted to a local mailing list, BG posted this link, which gives more information on the track and posts a few of the available remixes.

[Thanks BG]

I Haven’t Been This Obsessed in a While

posted by on April 23 at 11:09 AM

I like Light in the Attic Records because they focus on being the musical equivalent to our Turn You On column. Their next releases are two albums by Betty Davis. They will be in stores on May 15th, but you can buy them on the website now (and stream some MP3s, which I highly suggest doing).

This is Bette Davis:

That’s not who I’m talking about.

This is Betty Davis:
Way hotter!

Betty Davis was the second wife of Miles Davis. She was also a model and song-writer. She’s had an amazing life, including an affair with Jimi Hendrix and being the inspiration for “Bitches Brew.” She is still alive, living in the Pittsburgh ghetto receiving no royalties, while her vinyl, if you can find it, goes for $50 or more.

The reason the vinyl is so valuable is because the songs are incredible. You’ve never heard anything like her snarling, angry, voice which is full of funky soul. What you probably have heard are the tracks, as they’ve been sampled endlessly. Her lyrics are upfront and full of revolution and sexual liberation, which is probably why the albums were never a commercial success.

Go check it out, and become as obsessed as me.

Rufus + Teddy = Love

posted by on April 23 at 10:27 AM

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You knew something special was in store for folks at the Triple Door last night when the server made sure to inform patrons, right off the bat, that the show would be going until 11:30, with a full set from opener Teddy Thompson, and two from headline act Rufus Wainwright. That’s a long night for a program at TTD… and it flew by.

The former played a set of new tunes from his forthcoming third album (out in July on Verve Forecast), and essentially stripped his sound down to its purest essence: No witty wordplay, no virtuoso guitar, just Everly Brothers-style country rave-ups, with upright bass and brushed snare for accompaniment. He threw in a few covers (“She Thinks I Still Care,” a Merle Haggard number I didn’t recognize), but the originals were the highlight, esp. one called “My Blue Tears.” If you have tickets for tonight’s sold-out show, do not miss him (unlike Mr. Schmader — for shame).

And Rufus? With a seven piece band (inc. a brass & woodwind trio), he offered up his forthcoming Release The Stars in its entirety (but not in order). Even though the record ain’t in stores till May 15, the audience ate it up. Since this was the first show of his tour, he rightfully joked that “basically you’re watching a rehearsal!” I was fortunate enough to hear the record beforehand, and have to say, I was blown away at the fine job he did of translating some very ambitious songs into confident performances. There are little spots that need tweaking - the piano-and-voice-only “Tulsa” should relax and swing a bit more, there was some nagging dissonance between the upright and electric basses on another number - but overall, Wainwright and company did an astonishing job, especially on epic numbers like “”Do I Disappoint You.”

He also threw in two songs from his recent Judy Garland shows (“A Foggy Day in London Town” and “If Love Were All”), an air popularized by the great Irish tenor John McCormack, and a few audience favorites (“Vibrate,” “The Art Teacher”). He looks healthier and seems happier — literally bursting with enthusiasm — than he ever has in my recollection. If you have tickets for tonight’s sold-out show, consider yourself lucky. If you don’t, and can afford it, try and snag a SRO spot.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

All Saturday Nights Should Be This Good

posted by on April 22 at 7:10 PM

There was something like 8,000 shows happening in Seattle last night—the Slip at the Crocodile, Blonde Redhead at the Showbox, Placebo at the Fenix, Patient Patient and the Lonely Forest at the Comet, and the Lake of Falcons, the Assailant, the Bismarck, and Police Teeth played at Atlas on Capitol Hill…. That’s where my night started.

It was only their fourth or fifth live show, but Police Teeth were good. The band features Chris from Racetrack and James and Richy from USS Horsewhip, so they’re pros with the whole rock and roll thing. Judging solely from their previous projects, they’re a little harder than I expected them to be. They’re more urgent, louder, and a little brash, even… certainly not bad qualities to have.

(Click to “listen to Motherfuckers Move Slow” via the band’s Band Page.)

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