Other than the vociferous rock Cicadas bestowed upon me at their last show on Thursday, they also introduced me to the band Sparks. This was one of those, “How had I never heard of these guys?” moments; despite my love for 70s prog Sparks had slipped under my radar. This introduction was followed strangely enough (or not) by an Idolator post yesterday about the band and how they will be performing their 21 albums over the course of 21 nights at Shepherds Bush Empire, starting last night. The final night will showcase a new release from the band Exotic Creatures of the Deep. 1974’s Kimono My House was their breakthrough, with the single “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both of Us” reaching #2 on the charts. Though their sound in this era fits somewhere between Queen and Yes this live performance is from a disco program, so, not surprisingly, no on in the audience seems to give a fuck about what they are doing. This song slays.
Spain has always guaranteed an er… typically Spanish song. Sung in Spanish (quite like the French), sometimes up-tempo, a little old-fashioned. You name it. There was Mocedades in 1973 (Eres Tu –2nd place), Azucar Moreno in 1990 (Bandido – 5th place), Annabel Conde (Vuelve Conmigo – 2nd place) in 1995 and the gorgeous Beth in 2003 (Dime - 8th place). This year they’re sending Elvis. Rodolfo Chikilicuatre has an insane DIY dance routine called Baila el chiki chiki (“dance the chiki chiki” - kinda like the Macarena, but better). In case you’re wondering what he’s on about, there’s a translation and most of it its made clear by the fantastic dance routine. I’m a big fan and this should definitely keep Spain out of the bottom four.
Serbia qualified for the final by winning last year. No, I won’t plug Marija Serifovic again, but she deserved to win. And this year, they might just win the whole damn thing again. Jelena Tomasevic sings Oro, yet another folky ballad from Serbia. And, obviously, I really like this one. Zeljko Joksimovic, the writer of Oro, took part once in Eurovision (runner up in 2004 with Lane Moje), he wrote the Bosnian entry in 2006 (third place for Hari Mata Hari) and this year he’s one of the presenters of the show. In short, he’s the new Johnny Logan, a contemporary Mr Eurovision. Oro is in the same style as his previous Eurovision entries, but since I liked all of those, I don’t mind. I looked for a translation of the lyrics to find out what she’s singing about, but the lyrics might as well still be in Serbian… : “My wheat, do not sleep, kiss him, put me to sleep/ Do not break my ice, it lacks water/ Do not put salt on my wound, there are no tears” Erm. Yes. Well, whatever the lyrics, it’s obvious that once again this is Tragedy with a capital T.
And what better way to end this godforsaken Eurovision preview?
So that were all 43 participating countries.
Rehearsals are well underway in Belgrade and so far there’s been a minor Russia/Greece incident (they both use too many props for the one stagedoor), Dima Bilan re-grew his mullet, Isis Gee’s teeth are scarier than they appeared in the video, Ireland’s turkey admitted to liking both cocks and hens (whatever gets him the votes), Belgium sucks and is the frontrunner for the infamous Barbara Dex award (the award for the worst dress… well, at least then we’ll win something), Iceland and Sweden battle it out over the botox, there’s a lot of pyro (pyrotechnics are this year’s wind machines) and Finland is performing shirtless.
As to who will win, no-one knows, though Russia, the Ukraine and Croatia are hot favourites.
All will be revealed next Tuesday, Thursday and -finally- Saturday.
Coming up: tips for your very own Eurovision party.
Not sure why it took me this long to pick up on Shearwater’s similarities with Talk Talk. As a Line Out news roundup pointed out yesterday, the band’s latest single includes a live cover of “The Rainbow” from TT’s Spirit of Eden, and boy, Shearwater owes something to that album—the high-key vocals, the smattering of strings, the understated, whomping drums, and, of course, the very British-ness of it all. Lead singer Jon Meiburg has always sounded like a Shakespeare play actor who’s grown tired of simply speaking, now singing every one of his metered thoughts with a bold, breaking fragility as if he breaks out in song when he’s walking down the street or shopping in the supermarket. While that vocal affinity continues in Rook, the new album has begun to really break away from the feeling that the band’s an Okkervil River side project (sure was, of course, complete with Will Sheff being co-songwriter for a long time).
Even last year’s Palo Santo still held on to the southern gothic character of Okkervil River; now, Meiburg has gripped this boat’s wheel, guiding his group over the sea en route to Europe. Before the album’s first song ends, that boat meets its untimely destruction: “As the splinter flies apart, to your bow, to the biggest wave / but your angel’s on holiday / and that wave rises slowly and breaks.” Cue swell of horns, violins, and feedback, then imagine the band flailing in the frigid Atlantic, only to float to a nondescript island where bands like Beirut, Sigur Ros, and Talk Talk have emigrated. Album cornerstone “Home Life” sets roots in this new locale and sees the band do something surprisingly constructive with a silky, jazzy rhythm section. The heap of strings, piano and flutes might’ve sounded like the celebratory gypsy music of Devotchka if Meiburg wasn’t there to make the proceedings more sinister and romantically violent: “Now the boys are away / and such kicks they are having / slashing away at those forest walls with their bitter knives,” he coos, as if he were that overzealous Shakespeare actor pleading with an onion at QFC. There’s a good chunk of rock in this album as well, with both “Rooks” and “The Snow Leopard” nodding toward the band’s Okkervil roots, though the latter steps outside of Okkervil’s desperation for literacy, leaving space for the song’s instrumental heft and allowing a huge riff to ebb and rise until toppling over at the end of the five-minute runtime. Really, stepping back and allowing the tide to tell the story is Rook’s strongest play.
It’s been a slow week in the world of music. Today’s crop of headlines is particularly banal. I offer the following trivial news bits as proof that nothing of interest is happening. Just be thankful you’re spared from the latest American Idol updates or news on Pete Wentz’s bachelor party.
I witnessed Slats’ hat being stolen by some fuckface at the Cha Cha last night. The thief made a quick and stealthy run from the outside smoking area and snatched Slats’ hat on his way past. It was a very quick and startling incident. Most of the witnesses were shocked and confused, as was Slats who spent about twenty minutes searching under the table for his hat. A girl at the table made a rescue attempt but returned empty handed. It was obvious that Slats was quite upset about the loss of the hat. No one really got a good look at the perpetrator. I personally hope this chicken-shit bastard is disemboweled and dumped under some bushes.
* Reward: Whoever finds and returns Slats’s hat to Slats will be Stranger President for a day. They will also receive a KFC biscuit.
* (Since there is no real Stranger President, whoever finds Slats’ hat will be President of my Stranger Line Out posts for a day. And get a biscuit.)
In Athens, GA, people (frat dudes) used to steal Michael Stipe’s hats sometimes and he would be most unpleased.
On this post about Wednesday night’s Fleet Foxes/Mudhoney show at the Sunset, Get Your Shine Box comments:
What a non-review. Next time post it in the food section.
Who would have thought that I would start to pine for the “objective” Kathleen Wilson era of Stranger music journalism.
It’s probably folly to engage with the comments like this, but fuck it (and, yes, we all pine for the days of Kathleen Wilson, get over it), you’re right. It was kind of a non-review. I was trying to be a good sport and engage with some music that’s never really grabbed me, trying to give it the benefit of the doubt, see what other people see, be “objective” (a myth, nowhere moreso than in criticism). The truth is that—minus occasional instances of truly dazzling songwriting—the trad-garage rock/folk end of the Sub Pop spectrum frequently bores the shit out of me. I always feel like it’s more for the old guard that’s been with Sub Pop for all these past 20 years, although I know there’s plenty of people my age going nuts for Fleet Foxes right now (I look forward to the moment they win me over, maybe it’ll even be the next time I see them). So there’s something for you to chew on.
Do you need some soul on this warm Friday? If so, I would highly recommend checking out Talcum tonight at The Wild Rose. This relatively new night is hosted by Gene, member of the Emerald City Soul Club, who will be spinning original northern soul 45rpm records all night long for you to shake & dance to. The first one, a couple of months back was a lot of fun and had the dance floor packed throughout the night. It’s nice to see good soul music making it’s way to Capitol Hill on a Friday night.
Clinic are at Neumo’s tonight; Michaelangelo Matos reviewed the band’s new album, Do It, in this week’s paper:
No band better exemplifies the Curse of the Perfect Debut than Clinic. Leaving aside a self-titled CD collecting their early singles, the Liverpool quartet began with 2000’s Internal Wrangler, one of those albums that record geeks of a certain stripe live for—a mad, endlessly replayable compendium of sonic devices citing a dead-on assortment of historical landmarks that moves so fast but packs in so much you’re alternately shocked and relieved it’s only a half-hour long. Internal Wrangler exposed every trick Clinic have up their collective sleeve, setting the band’s subsequent work up for failure. How do you reinvent a sound that’s already constantly reinvented itself song to song? How do you top the moment when your enthusiasm for those tricks comes through most vividly?
But unlike the absolutely essential classic Illmatic (which even Mr. Jones recently admitted made fans expect too much from him for the rest of his career), no album sums up Nas better than his 2001 “comeback” album. While it held some of Nas’s best work, period, it also held some of his worst, most ill-considered duds (“Smokin’,” “Braveheart Party”). Simply put, Nas is best embodied by something as tragically inconsistent as Still.
Besides all that, you know and I know—and you know that I know—that Nasir is a notoriously spotty performer. Bad breath control, raggedy voice (too many White Owls, god), lackadaisical movement, and overbearing hypemen have typified every Nas show I’ve ever seen. I’m not saying that because I don’t want you to go see Esco at Showbox Sodo on Friday, May 16—I do! I want you to support the openers, my man D.Black, my dudes Grynch, and DJ Nphared. I want you to scream your lungs out when the man many of you proclaim as hiphop’s greatest MC emerges onstage. I just don’t want you to be disappointed. No expectations.
The Evaporators - “Gassy Jack”
The Evaporators, Voodoo Organist, TacocaT, Science & Junk
(Funhouse) I will first and forever love Nardwuar the Human Serviette, frontman of Vancouver, BC, goof punks the Evaporators, as possibly the greatest interviewer punk rock has ever produced (sorry, Spiv). Like a (more) absurd and antagonistic Barbara Walters, Nardwuar assaults subjects ranging from Quiet Riot to Snoop Dogg with quick wit, a depth of pop-trivia knowledge that goes beyond dorky to just plain stupefying, and his signature “doot doola doot doo.” Secondarily, I love Nardwuar and the Evaporators for providing the soundtrack for the one and only time I ever drunkenly made out in a mosh pit (my deepest apologies go out to everyone else who was at that year’s Yo Yo a Go Go). Keep on rockin’ the free world, Nardwuar. ERIC GRANDY
French Kicks - “So Far We Are”
French Kicks, the Joggers, the Quiet Ones
(Chop Suey) French Kicks long ago shed the “NY garage band” image that was tacked onto them after emerging from a diverse music scene at the same time as the Strokes and the Walkmen, which is good news for everyone involved. Their fourth album, Swimming, was released digitally in April from Vagrant Records, with hard copies arriving in stores on May 20. Produced and mixed by the band, Swimming is held up by chiming guitars and showcases lead singer Nick Stumpf’s pleasant croon; it is their proudest achievement to date. Portland’s the Joggers, former labelmates of French Kicks, provide support. MATT GARMAN
The Vulture has news that Vampire Weekend was name-checked yesterday in Sally Forth. Sally Forth, if you don’t know already, is the comic strip whose target audience is girls aged 10-16 who enjoy wearing fanny packs and vests to school. It’s probably best recognizable for the smug smirks on the faces of its main characters, as well as their hollow, soul-sucking eyes. It reads as if the most bland sitcom on the face of the Earth had every last inkling of humor sucked from it.
To Vampire Weekend: it was a good couple months, there, guys. Sorry Sally Forth had to go and ruin it for you.
With Friends Like These is Matt Shaw, Tyler Coffey, Brian Pake from Spook the Horse, and drummer Justin Cronk from Vendetta Red. They make real deal, volume enhanced rock. Cronk is super tight, and the three-tiered vocals of Shaw, Coffey, and Pake spread the stage and the room with an intensely toned caterwaul. Veiled in their strain, the words search then find, “We made it home to our beds / We’re dead and gone for good.” The band holes up in their Fremont bunker studio called Toy Box to record. They’re constantly laying down new material and building their sound. Two guitars bound, Fugazi born, and carving out land mass. With Friends Like These making music like this, you hear no space wasted.
Sub Pop throws a damn good party. Last night, at the Sunset celebrated the upcoming May 20th deluxe rerelease of Mudhoney’s Superfuzz Bigmuff as well as the label’s 20 odd years of going out of business. Much loved deluxe lunch cart Skillet was serving burgers and other items out back. Above their menu was written, “Happy Wednesday, Sub Pop,” and I couldn’t decide if it was more that the label hardly needs an excuse to celebrate or that they’re powerful enough now to own entire days of the week. Van Halen’s Diver Down rested on an unplugged turntable downstairs (have at me, Paulus).
“Our record’s better than we are live, I promise,” said The Duchess & The Duke’s Duke, Jesse Lortz after their first couple songs. But they were just fine live, a cheap-beer soaked basement blues group, part garage psych, part dispirited folk, all glum and Seattle gray. Duchess Kimberly Morrison shared vocal and guitar duties with Lortz, and the band was rounded out by Ruben Mendez (Coconut Coolouts) and a drummer who mostly played tambourine and shakers. Their upcoming record, She’s the Duchess, He’s the Duke, due out July 8th, is just a little more flatteringly mixed than their live set was, that’s all. Either way, their songs are subtly insistent enough to at least half remember hungover.
I spent much of last night trying to remember when was the last time I saw Mudhoney. Maybe I was still just a teenager? I know the last time I missed seeing them was while visiting an ex in San Francisco—she was meeting a new guy at their show; I did something else that night, probably involving drinking. In any case, Mudhoney were always a kind of background band for me, coming up as I did in the mid/late ’90s. They were around, and I knew a couple of their songs, but they weren’t really on my regular concert itinerary. I think I would have (and quite possible have, while under the influence) liked their shows a lot when I was a kid, though. Even at this late stage in the band’s career, they play with a game, easy energy. Mark Arm lunges forward on one leg, classic hardcore singer style, mic in both hands, howling or stalks around the stage, lanky and mean. The bassist pounded out grooves and pulled the occasional goofy smile to friends in the crowd. The drummer and guitarist were invisible from my vantage point, but they were definitely audible; the band’s volume and feedback remains undiminished by age. They didn’t play “Touch Me I’m Sick.”
Fleet Foxes headlined, following Mudhoney’s well-worn ruckus with tender four-part harmonies and woodland reverie. It could only have been higher contrast if they’d followed, say, Wolf Eyes. But the band—new flash—really does sound gorgeous, pulling off the whole rustic, wide-eyed, back-to-the-land hymnals thing with easy musicianship and able choruses. It was a treat getting to hear them in a room small and quiet enough to really allow for their dynamics. That damn (delicious) Skillet burger (not to mention the PBR and today’s deadlines) got the best of me, though, and I missed the latter half of their set. I hope they didn’t play “Touch Me I’m Sick.” I would hate to have missed that. Seriously.
Only in the past few months did I fall in love with Bellingham’s Cicadas—gnarly, spiraling instrumental tunes with blistering basslines and scary-fast drums. And now the fuckers are breaking up. I could’ve made you stars, dudes. STARS.
But at least I’ll get to see them, if only once, before they call it quits.
They’re playing tonight at the Blue Moon Tavern in the U-District, and I have it on good authority that the band puts on an enthralling live show. Here’s the only evidence I could find online, but the band’s far to furious and fast for a point and shoot video camera so it just sounds like a swamp filled with exploding robots.
Then again, even if they suck, you won’t lose any money as it is—as all Blue Moon shows are—totally free.
Rad Touch (featuring Party Crasher, Line Out poster, Fall Out Boy hater Jeff Kirby) are also playing.
Erykah Badu played Radio City Music Hall on Friday night… Instead of saying that Badu’s performance will not be bettered any time soon (though it won’t), I’ll say that her show gave everyone in the house serious bragging rights. Dylan in 1965, Metallica in 1985, Bad Brains in 1981—it was one of those points on the arc. If you want to know who is at her peak, who is both of her moment and channelling so many forces that her work spills out over the edges of history and stops time, that’s Erykah Badu in 2008.
Music’s most adorable man and wife duo have made their new album Re-Arrange Us available to stream on their Myspace page. Unfortunately, someone coded their own audio stream into one of their comments causing Latin-American music to start playing after about a minute, without the option of turning it off or even seeing where it’s coming from. So until the Mates get that little glitch under control you can enjoy their new record simultaneously with Spanish singing and a horn section.
If you missed out on tickets for the Posies show at Neumo’s this Saturday (which is also a CD release for Beautiful Escape: The Songs of the Posies Revisited, and a party with the promise of surprise guests throughout the night), then you’ll be happy to hear that Neumo’s has just added a second performance from the band!
Doors for the early show are at 7 pm, doors for the later show are at 11:10.
Keyboard player Jared Bell of the Phoenix, AZ drum and keys duo Lymbyc Systym gets mountain sized chunks of sound out of his keys. You would never know there wasn’t a guitar player on stage with them. Jared spoke from New Hampshire enrout to Montreal.
I used to carry around a Fender Rhodes, but I just recently replaced it with the Nord, since it can also replicate Wurlitzer and Rhodes piano in one.
What pedals or effects are you using to get such a huge sound?
My pedal setup is really simple. I just use a Line 6 delay pedal, an Akai Headrush looping pedal, and a volume pedal. Most of the “huge” sound, comes from my Clavinet.
The Clavinet is a mechanical keyboard that basically works like a guitar. It has guitar strings and pick-ups inside, so when you press down a key, you are actually striking a guitar string which then resonates above the pickup, just like a guitar. I run the Clavinet through a volume pedal, then into a delay pedal, then to my amp. I generally use really heavy delay.
What amps are you using?
Right now I have an SWR bass and two Fender guitar amps. I used a Vox AC30 for a while, which has a great tone.
How do you achieve that signature Jared *Jrod* sound?
The Clavinet. It’s magic. The clavinet was really made famous by people like Stevie Wonder on “Superstition” and Herbie Hancock on Headhunters. It’s the really robotic sounding keyboard on a lot of 70s funk albums.
Unfortunately, not many people experiment with the instrument beyond that “funky” sound, which I think is a travesty. That sound is totally played out. Imagine if every guitar player had the same tone. It would be ridiculous! The Clavinet is mechanical and works just like a guitar, which means there is an almost limitless array of ways to experiment with it.
A main part of my live sound is me messing around with and controlling feedback. The Clavinet has amazing feedback, just like a guitar. I also do a lot of dramatic swells, which are created using my volume pedal in combination with heavy delay. I really like to use delay that slowly shifts out of pitch over time. It creates a really ominous, yet beautiful sound.
What do you like best about your set up?
I like that it is simple. Not many pedals to mess with, or get in the way of things. I think the best tones are created by keeping things simple, and just being creative using what you have around. Any instrument can sound good if you work with it. I experiment as much as possible, and try to find new textures and tones I haven’t heard before. I really like using keyboards I’ve never seen or played before, and just intuitively messing with the knobs without paying attention to what they are supposed to do.
What do you like least about your set up?
Setting it up and tearing it down.
Where did Lymbyc Systym play last night?
We played in the basement of the Peterborough, NH Public Library. It was kind of crazy to play in a library. It was a really old building.
Did you rock the ‘Science Fiction Section’?
We rocked all the sections pretty much. But I’d say we rocked the Mystery Section the hardest.
When asked what he is listening to at this moment, El-P, the founder of Def Jux, and the subject of an article I wrote this week, said the soundtrack for Steven Soderbergh’s remake of Andrie Tarkovsky’s Solaris. “Yeah, the movie sucks, but the soundtrack is really great. I can’t stop listening to it. There’s something there I want to figure out.”
I bought the soundtrack, listened to it, and came to agree with El-P—it’s a beautiful and meticulous work of movie music. But I think this is the secret of the score’s success: it sounds like a soundtrack for a movie that has never been made. Its music, produced by Cliff Martinez, does not connect with its movie, and so the music has a ghostly quality. It’s music without the presence and weight of its image.
In recent years the big four tend to be the “bottom four”. Do they not make enough of an effort, are they not considered cool and hip, or…. as Terry Wogan seems to think, does Europe hate them and their alliance with the US? Hm, I hardly think someone in Hungary will say “ooh I loved that song from the UK, but since they’re at war in Iraq I refuse to vote for them. I know, I’ll vote for Albania instead”.
For me the Big Four generally don’t make enough of an effort, they send music that doesn’t appeal to the Eurovision audience and they tend to exaggerate. Spain and Germany got decent results in 2004. Even the UK did alright with James Fox in 2005 (in Belgian terms 16th place is nothing to mock). So there.
The Big four (specifically France and the Uk) are used to dominating the contest because they sung in languages a lot of other European countries understood. Since the free language choice they no longer have that edge and it’s taking some time to get used to it.
But still, let’s see what our big financial contributors (thank you for that by the way) are sending this year.
The UK sent some real horrors in recent years. Who could forget their first ever null points in 2003 (and really, get over it, do you know how many times Belgium got null points? And it was more than deserved). Jemini had problems with their earphones (that’s the story anyway). Result: no points. Surprising? No. The song was a decent-enough trashy dance song, but the vocals were horrid. They also tried with Daz Sampson, some kind of rap thing about school (urgh) and last year they sent Scooch: calculated camp, innuendos (four fifths of Europe didn’t get it, but still), flight attendant uniforms, European flags, the lot. I quite liked it, but when you’re on after Verka Serduchka, you really don’t stand a chance.
This year they’re going with Andy Abraham who’s singing Even If. It’s funky, it’s decent, it’s quite catchy, there are actual instruments on stage and Andy shakes his ass like there’s no tomorrow. The UK deserve a good place with this, but this song will probably be too “normal” to stick in the mind. If you’ve got the time (or the inclination) have a look at Michelle Gayle, runner up of the national selection in the UK: she brings a 50s kinda Birdie Dance. Just imagine her backing singers and the turkey from Ireland… what a team.
Speaking of that turkey, I just heard he brought his own wind machine to Eurovision. Eurovision needs more wind machines, it’s a fact.
Eurovision is the time where Germany proves that they do have a sense of humour (you heard it here first, folks). Back in 1979 they sent the incredible “Dschinghis Khan” with the song of the same name. A memorable performance. In 1998 they sent the magnificent Guildo Horn and his band “die Orthopädischen Strümpfe” (the orthopaedic stockings) with “Guildo hat euch lieb” (Guildo loves you), a man for whom the stage was one big jungle gym. Then there was Stefan Raab in 2000 with Wadde Hadde Dudde Da. And Lou who sang “let’s get happy and let’s be gay” in a very heavy German accent in 2003 and came 11th. (She claimed “let’s be gay” was not an intentional attempt to grab the gay vote. Right. Sure.) Unfortunately Germany seems a bit devoid of fun this year. With No Angels and the song Disappear they’re sending a completely unmemorable thing. We’ve got Big Hair Angel, Shabby Angel, Barbie Angel and Posh Angel trying to be sexy and making an attempt at flag-waving with parts of their outfit. They get points for that, but I fear it’s going to be Bottom Four for this one. One of the comments on Youtube was quite fitting: “with a song like this we’ll only get points from Austria and Switzerland”.
Oh, you bloc-voters, you.
Wah! Look at that, Jesus is taking part in Eurovision!! Quick, check his hands and feet for stigmata, to see if he’s the real deal. La douce France is entering Eurovision with a bit of a riot on their hands. Sebastien Tellier’s song (Divine) is… not in French. Probably the first year ever that a Eurovision song for France is not in French . France’s entry from last year (Les Fatals Picards ) could hardly be considered completely French either, but they sang in a kind of Franglais (“je cours, je cours, I’ve lost l’amour et without you, seul à Paris…”) and wore pink ties designed by Gaultier, so at least that was something . Those poor French! This year, half the contest starts singing in a foreign language but instead of French, they’re all picking Italian, and then their own representative claims he can’t sing about love in French, so he has to choose English. Apparently though, he has given in to the frazzled nerves of the French nation and agreed to sing parts of it in French. We’ll see. A friend of mine came up with the idea to have the English lyrics simultaneously translated on the backdrop during his performance. The French politicians will be happy and the rest of Europe gets a free French lesson, thus promoting the French language yet again. Not that the lyrics make much sense, but hey. You can’t have everything.
This song is unlike any other song in Eurovision, it’ s some kind of electro-y, disco-y, retro-y… er… listen, I don’t know what it is, let’s just say it’s something good, I do love it, but –alas- I doubt it’ll do much of anything vote-wise.
Paul Baribeau at Dearborn on Woodland
You are forgiven for not knowing who Paul Baribeau is—I don’t think the Midwestern singer/songwriter has ever played a venue in Seattle that wasn’t a house. His songs are so minimal and sweet and serious that they slide right under any sort of radar, like a stealth bomber loaded with lyrics about brown-haired girls and 10 things to do before you die. Request his cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Into the Fire,” a song he makes better by shouting it over his acoustic guitar. (Dearborn on Woodland, 4131 Woodland Park Ave N, www.myspace.com/dearbornhouse. 8 pm, donations for touring bands, all ages.) ARI SPOOL
Your new record, Midnight Boom, sounds peppier, more upbeat. Does this reflect a sea change in your lives or just a conscious musical decision?
We had a brilliant time making the record. We didn’t feel any stress. We didn’t care when it got finished or how long it was going to take. We were laughing all the time, and you can hear that.
Sometimes when a band tries to change tack artistically, they psych themselves out, but you avoided that.
The only thing we really wanted was to make a modern record. We love old bands, old gear, old recording methods, old everything. For the first time, we said, “Let’s try and fit into modern times and see what happens.” It was interesting. Working on a computer was quite a painful process. We didn’t like it and probably won’t do it again. But in the end, we were happy to see that no matter what we did, it still sounded like the Kills.
To the Waves, Post Harbor, Helms Alee
(King Cobra) Jesse Fox has turned yet another project into gold. In the late-’90s, Fox was frontman for the urgent (and tragically underrated) local rock outfit Polecat. This decade he started Leuko, which was still on the heavy-guitar side of rock but with more memorable melodies and catchy choruses. As if he’s not busy enough working as a firefighter and sitting in as the new drummer for the recently reunited Seaweed, now he’s launched new band To the Waves. To the Waves’ dynamic songs combine bursts of intensity that recall Polecat’s turbulence with moments that melt into seas of dreamy, melancholy strings and piano. MEGAN SELING
El Perro del Mar, Lykke Li, Anna Ternheim
(Triple Door) There aren’t many artists as well-suited to spring as El Perro del Mar—unless you count fellow Swede Lykke Li, who’s joining her delicately voiced countrywoman on this tour. While Li has a slightly Feistian quirkiness underpinning her work, El Perro del Mar specializes in quiet, pastel-colored folk-pop that’s as pretty and pure as a vase full of freshly picked daisies. Her latest album, From the Valley to the Stars, (out on local label the Control Group) is the sound of fragile tendrils of hope tentatively emerging after a long, frozen winter; that underlying melancholy serves to keep the songs from being overly precious. The bill is balanced by the autumnal, almost Nico-esque sounds of another Swede, Anna Ternheim. BARBARA MITCHELL
Last Friday, I went and checked out local Seattle deejay, DJ Riz, at his weekly Friday night gig at the Re-bar. He really blew me away a couple of weeks ago at Studio! where he played a special rare set of disco and funk cuts. I was excited to see him at his usual residency, which consisted of more deep house and funk grooves. I found the set to be as equally brilliant as a few weeks back. That being said, he ended his set with Edwin Starr’s 1978 disco classic “Contact” and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head ever since. This track, which was released on the Clean LP, can be described as Starr’s re-emergence into the club and disco scene of the late 1970’s. The track has some solid percussion work, and does a nice job blending the lines between his move into the disco realm and his earlier soul roots. It’s safe to say Edwin Starr had a very accomplished musical career with many solid releases during the late 60’s and 70’s, however there might not be another song in his collection that can move a floor like “Contact”.
DownloadEdwin Starr’s classic disco boogie cut “Contact” by going here.
I would also recommend checking out DJ Riz every Friday night at the Re-bar (1114 Howell Street) for some great mixing of deep house and funk.
Tonight at the Funhouse, Pain Cocktail is playing. Pain Cocktail is the punk rock band of the controversial and vaunted Slats.
To get to this show, you don’t need to drive or take the bus, you can glide closely behind Slats as Denny Way rolls underneath him in a technique known as drafting. Don’t take the S.L.U.T., take the Slats. Slats may turn his amp levels up and down a lot . Yes, he may order a long island ice tea in the middle of the set. Yes he may make his guitar feedback, and it may be the loudest thing on stage. But that’s the way it should be. What some call a ‘shitstravaganza’, others call punk. And punk is perfect.
Just a word that this song is killing me right now. I’ve listened to it five times in the last hour.
Veronika Fischer & Band get a beautiful funked out re-work here on this brilliant re-edit by German DJ Hans Nieswandt (aka Edith Honnegger). I have no idea what the hell there on about something about “driving the course”?
Who wouldn’t want to get down to some groovy-ass German funk? Who I ask??!?!
I’m sure this will get played out tonight somewhere funky and soulful!
Tapes ‘n Tapes is at the Showbox, though! Michaelangelo Matos reviewed their new album, Walk It Off, in this week’s paper:
Tapes ‘n Tapes Walk It Off
The knock on music beloved by blogs is that bloggers are too frequently beholden to instantaneous turnover for their analyses to mean much. So the fact that this Twin Cities quartet were picked up (or picked on) as a blog favorite is sort of amusing, because they’re anything but immediate.
The first time through Walk It Off, Tapes ‘n Tapes’ second album, was honestly confusing: Sure, it’s guitar-based indie rock, but it sounded awfully undifferentiated. So much for web hype. But the next couple listens settled it in, and I started hearing songs—even better, I started hearing guitars.
Those guitars tend more toward hyperactive rhythm than lead lines or even noise. They’re not especially tricked up, à la Sonic Youth and their woolly progeny. Though they get loud pretty frequently—most ecstatically, and clinically, on the expansive opener, “Le Ruse,” and the bottled-tension closing number, “The Dirty Dirty”—the guitars, like the band’s songs, generally stay neatly ordered.
If Tapes ‘n Tapes recall any single band it’s the Pixies, only Tapes ‘n Tapes’ melodic and rhythmic sense is staccato rather than widescreen-dramatic. Josh Grier’s gulping, fragile vocals are mixed back just enough to bob to the surface without dominating. “Conquest” is an instructive exception: In addition to its attractively loose strumming and cymbal-bell-accented drums, Grier is further up front, but my attention keeps wandering to the rhythm section and a buried, tricky little synth part. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
Also tonight, the Posies 20th Anniversary celebration continues in Tacoma:
The Posies, the Joshua Cain Band, Bumma Stoge
(Hell’s Kitchen) They just keep going. This spring, the Posies celebrate 20 years of making magical pop songs. While Ken Stringfellow and company’s more recent efforts have been less memorable (2005’s Every Kind of Light neglected to deliver the kind of addicting hooks that make 1997’s Frosting on the Beater so cherished), the band are still worth celebrating, with a back catalog of gems that are forever the soundtrack to my teen and young-adult years. “Dream All Day” blasted as I drove down the highway for the first time alone after getting my license; “Coming Right Along” haunted and hugged me through my first heartbreak. This anniversary is as much ours as it is theirs. MEGAN SELING
EVERCLEAR have added two special dates to their Spring/Summer tour: a May 26 Memorial Day concert at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and a July 6 performance at the Marine Corps base at Kaneohe Bay, Oahu.
“These two are important to the band,” says singer and guitarist ART ALEXAKIS of the multi-platinum EVERCLEAR. “There are folks in uniform all over the world, and at home, looking out for us—and to play for them is an honor. Not a bad way to spend the holiday weekends, not at all.”
The new video by Chicago instrumentalists Pelican, featuring Hydra Head Records manager Mark Thompson as a hopeful singer stuggling to find the band’s audition in the desert, debuts on Headbanger’s Ball this weekend:
Pelican play the Showbox SODO on May 23rd with Thrice and Circa Survive.
The long-awaited debut Truckasauras album Tea Parties, Guns & Valor doesn’t drop officially for another two weeks, but local digital music retailer Necodo is getting the jump on the competition by selling it now, and they’ve put together a streaming player so you can check out the whole thing. Enjoy.
NEW YORK (AP) - A weeping Remy Ma was sentenced to eight years in prison Tuesday for shooting a woman outside a Manhattan nightclub.
“I feel so bad for all the physical and mental pain you’ve gone through,” the Grammy-nominated rapper told the victim. “This has taken a toll on us and both our families. I would never wish you harm and I pray the best for all of us.”
The entertainer, whose real name is Remy Smith, had faced up to 25 years in prison for assault, weapon possession and attempted coercion for shooting Makeda Barnes Joseph last July in a dispute over money.
Smith, 26, begged the judge for leniency for the sake of “my little boy,” saying she grew up “surrounded by failure, violence and poverty,” but “made something out of nothing” from her life.
State Supreme Court Justice Rena Uviller said she recognized that Smith had had a difficult childhood, but noted the victim had nearly died and will never be the same physically. Uviller called the rapper “a young woman whose anger is out of control.”
One of the more “sexy themed” disco compilations to come out is thefifth volume in the The Mood Mosaic series entitled, Supervixens. This compilation that was released by Discomagic Records in the mid 1990’s brings together some of disco’s more erotic rarities. The record also tends to standout a bit more from the others in the The Mood Mosaic series, which tend to lend themselves more for cocktail lounge hour rather than a disco floor. This very rare album consists of some real disco gems including Marta Acuna’s “Dance, Dance, Dance”, Roundtree “Get On Up”, Black Devil’s “Follow Me”, Chain Reaction’s “Dance Freak” and Sylvia’s sexy disco classic “The Lollipop Man” among others. Overall this is a great themed disco compilation that puts some disco’s more harder-to-find classics all in one place.
DownloadSylvia’s “The Lollipop Man” and Roundtree’s “Get On Up by going here.
Death Cab For Cutie’s new album, Narrow Stairs is out today. Long time DCFC fan and former fellow Bellinghamster Jeff Kirby reviews the album for this week’s Stranger, out tomorrow. But you, Line Out reader, can taste what’s on Kirby’s mind-grapes right now:
Death Cab For Cutie Narrow Stairs
With their first couple albums, Death Cab For Cutie established a sound that was uniquely their own, one which not only launched the band into stardom but also became a foundation for the 21st century’s new generation of indie/emo rock. But, seemingly intent not to be pigeonholed into a sound they helped solidify, each subsequent Death Cab release has expanded their sound in new directions while never losing their knack for to dressing up dispirited lyrics in carefully catchy pop melodies. Both Transatlanticism and Plans even hinted at overarching themes—the former dealt with love being conquered by physical distance, the latter with growing old and emotionally distant. Neither quite coalesced into bona fide concept albums, though, feeling instead feeling like collections of likeminded songs.
Narrow Stairs finally achieves that level of cohesion. Once again, the songs deal with hapless and infelicitous love, but this time a perceptible, almost narrative theme unfolds from song to song. “I Will Possess Your Heart,” the 8-and-a-half minute single that beings with a brooding, 5-minute instrumental jam, explores the sadly deluded, stalker-ish certainty that eventually, the song’s indifferent subject will love the singer in return. “Talking Bird” is like a lullaby, simple and familiar, with Ben Gibbard wistfully promising, “It’s all here for you as long as you don’t fly away.” Key lines of several songs are startlingly dismal: “You can do better than me, but I can’t do better than you,” “You look so defeated lying there in your new twin size bed”—even the driving 80s rock beat of “Long Division” can’t hide the desperation in its chorus, “He had sworn not to be what he’d been before, to be a remainder.”
Despite the heavy heart, there’s a renewed sonic energy pumping through Narrow Stairs’ lovesick and deflated veins. Musically upbeat as it is lyrically despairing, Narrow Stairs is acutely mimetic of an optimistic but fatally flawed relationship, and though the sentiment expressed is notably depressing, it is undeniably well crafted. JEFF KIRBY
Last night, I fed one dollar into Smith’s jukebox (which, to my mind, has an ok, but not great, selection) and picked four songs. Not one of my selected songs played (it came close once, playing the wrong song from the right album, which only made it worse). Did the jukebox malfunction? Did I? My friends assured me that I had been using the standard procedure for entering selections into a jukebox, but I wondered, had I failed to press some elusive but vital button? In any case, it’s only a dollar, no big deal, but I was set on hearing these songs:
Instead of its usual national tour, Ozzfest has been shortened to one date this year, August 9th at Pizza Hut Park in Dallas. Ozzy and Metallica are the headliners, accompanied by a slough of utter crap, save for the headliners of the “Texas Stage” the Sword, Soilent Green, and the hesitant respect Serj Tankian has earned for being both forward thinking and articulate. Mongoloid metal-heads around the country are fuming that this suck-fest is not coming to their backyard, and have began typing hateful diarrhea on the Ozzfest message board before un-clenching their fists:
“This Suck This is bullshit ozzfest is only going to be a one day show in TX. Well I am gland that all of other summer tour is not like this like warped tour now we got a new summer tour call rockstar mayhem tour I hope it better than ozzfest”
“really it be ok. with two ass hole who don’t know how run a show are their show now. an Texas does have hurricanes dumb ass is was called Rita. And where could put ozzfest other then Texas. Try California. we don’t fuck our sister. imbreaded ass clowns”
The full line-up:
OZZY OSBOURNE / METALLICA / SERJ TANKIAN / HELLYEAH / JONATHAN DAVIS / CAVALERA CONSPIRACY / SHADOWS FALL / APOCALYPTICA / IN THIS MOMENT / All-Star Tribute To “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott
Second Stage: / SEVENDUST / DEVILDRIVER / KINGDOM OF SORROW / SOILENT GREEN / WITCHCRAFT / GOATWHORE
Texas (Third) Stage:
THE SWORD / DROWNING POOL / RIGOR MORTIS
Furious that this sadness parade isn’t coming to Seattle? Feel free to delight us with angry sentence fragments in our comments section.
“Title Track” from We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes:
My memory cannot recall, a wave of alcohol
We shared a cigarette and shaved the hours off.
Lushing with the hallway concregation,
my best judgement signed its resignation.
I rushed this. We moved too fast, and tripped into the guestroom.
“Tiny Vessels” from Transatlanticism:
So one last touch and then you’ll go
And we’ll pretend that it meant something so much more
But it was vile, and it was cheap
And you are beautiful but you don’t mean a thing to me
“Someday You’ll Be Loved” from Plans:
You’ll be loved you’ll be loved
Like you never have known
The memories of me
Will seem more like bad dreams
Just a series of blurs
Like I never occurred
Someday you will be loved
“Pity and Fear” from Narrow Stairs:
I have such envy for the stranger lying next to me
Who awakes in the night and slips out into the pre-dawn light
With no words: a clean escape, no promises or messes made
And chalks it all up to a mistake
“We Looked Like Giants” from Transatlanticism:
When every thursday I’d brave those mountain passes
And you’d skip your early classes
And we’d learn how our bodies worked.
God damn the black night with all it’s foul temptation
I become what I always hated
When I was with you then
A sort of known band plays in a sort of filled club. The crowd stands back from the stage. Some people are engaged in the music. Others are not. No one dances. Except her.
She’s front and center, drunk on vodka tonics, and singing every word. She wildly acts out the parts of the songs and knows the changes. It’s interpretive movement, but it’s interpreted by a cheerleader on acid, on a trampoline. Her gaze is thrown toward one spot on the stage and you realize she’s the guitar player’s girlfriend.
I received a letter from a singer who asked not to be named. He writes:
I’m sick of our guitar player’s girlfriend. She ruins our shows with her stupid dancing. It’s embarrassing watching her hop around like a wounded chicken. She sings louder than I do. She’s like our Yoko. I don’t know what to do it about and was wondering if you could do one of your “Band Politics” things on it.
Dear Singer, get your head out of your ass. Your band is not big enough to have a Yoko. And people dancing to and singing your songs? That’s a good thing. Are you really at a point where you can complain about having fans? That girl is taking time out of her life to come to your show, know your words, and get excited about your music. She’s also buying drinks from the bar.
If she’s getting too drunk, sit down with her and the guitar player and bring it up in a positive way. Tell her you really appreciate her being at the shows. If you come down on her it will crush her, and completely piss off your guitar player. Avoid turmoil, be thankful for her, and approach the subject with respect. If she sings louder than you do, take some vocal lessons.
the least you can do is pair it with interesting videos.
So congratulations to the UK’s Get Out Clause, who, according to MetaFilter, “made their newest video by performing in front of 80 of London’s approximately 13 million CCTV cameras, and then requesting the footage via the Data Protection Act.”
As Brian Cook mentioned in this morning’s Music News, Weezer pushed up the release of their new album from June 24 to June 3rd.
“Due to popular demand and the intense reaction to the ‘Pork And Beans’ single, the wait time for the new album has just been reduced!”
Of course, last week’s leak of a bunch of songs probably had something to do with it too.
Here’s the band’s six-minute medley/rock opera that everyone’s been talking about:
Weezer - The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)
It’s daring to do something different, which I can appreciate from artists. And while the first few listens had me laughing, it didn’t take long for this song to start to feel so ridiculous and contrived… Ugh.
And two more:
Weezer - “Cold, Dark World” and “Everybody Get Dangerous”
If all these songs are indeed on the album, along with “Pork and Beans,” this will be the most disjointed record the band will have ever released. And I can’t believe I still care at this point.
What matters in this video is not so much the story behind Wu-Tang Clan’s “Heart Gently Weeps,” which reformulates the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” but the ring of RZA’s cellphone. His wife is trying to get to him.
Top Five American Hiphop Producers:
(in this order)
Atmosphere are playing the Showbox SODO tonight with Abstract Rude and DJ Rare Groove. Michaelangelo Matos interviewed Slug in this week’s paper. He talked about social networking websites, chewing on rubber bands, and how his new record is probably not better than Vampire Weekend’s. An excerpt:
Why should we care about the new Atmosphere album? What makes it better than, say, Vampire Weekend?
I highly doubt it’s better than the new Vampire Weekend. My goal is to continue not to disappoint the people who have offered us support in the past. I don’t care if you like me better than Gnarls Barkley or Vampire Weekend; I’m trying to ensure that I make that family stay together for as long as I can. I’m 36 this year; I’m over the whole concept of blowing up and being a buzz band. Things are moving good and I’d like to focus on how to maintain that. It’s not what the distribution company wants to hear, but that’s how I entered my relationship with them. Personally, I don’t care about making a record everybody gives five stars, or all the bloggers say is great, or isn’t great. All I care about is the core audience is challenged, as well as not disappointing them.
Here’s the video for “Guarantee” from When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold:
Foscil, Specs One, Obelus, DJ Greg Skidmore
(Chop Suey) In 2006, the local band Foscil and the local hiphop producer Specs One put their musical minds together and came up with an EP, Collaborative Efforts Volume 1. Released by Fourthcity, the recording contained a terrific mixture of late-rock exhaustion and the “more dusty than digital” sound of underground hiphop. The beats were slow, the sonic effects dreamy, and the zone that the bass occupied was somewhere between the dead of night and the living lights of the day. One track was led by the funereal melancholy of a Fender Rhodes, another distorted by a sick series of scratches that shimmered and vanished in the slow depths of the beats. Altogether, the fusion of the musical forms (hiphop, late rock, downtempo, jazz) was convincing. There must be a home in the world for this new kind of music. CHARLES MUDEDE
Collie Buddz, DJ Collage, DJ Element
(Nectar) More than most recent dancehall breakout/crossover stars (Seans Paul and Kingston, et al.) Bermuda-raised singer Collie Buddz has retained an absolutely fervent fan base among die-hard club reggae fans, even as his pop star has been on the rapid rise. Though his songs travel fairly well-worn reggae roads (his breakthrough “Come Around” joys in the reaping of the weed harvest, while his dance hit “Mamacita” has become the staple soundtrack for slow-wind contests worldwide), ultimately he isn’t nearly as musically adventurous or dimensional of content as other recent reggae champs like Damian Marley. But if you go to any reggae night at any club in most any city on earth, you will hear Buddz, and his songs will set the air horns trumpeting. SAM MICKENS
The Dirtbombs, Dan Sartain, Terrible Twos
(Neumo’s) The Dirtbombs are now a staple, right; they’re “classic” post-’90s garage rock. But, as with most contemporary garage bands, they REALLY don’t resemble the garage no-talents of the ’50s/’60s; to me it’s kinda like how pop-punk ain’t actually punk. I know, in their case, it’s NOT a huge deal as the Dirtbombs have proven writing great, fun songs and “experimenting” is what counts to THEM, so even as they evolved from trad garage they are committed to themselves, not nostalgic cliché. Fine… but in the late ’90s, the garage SOUND went from cheeky kids playin’ R&B to “high energy” MC5, (gulp) AC/DC riffs loaded with pop hooks, and Rezillos-style booming, ultra- clean production. It’s weird, the pop bigness sucked out garage’s soul… almost like how young country killed traditional C&W. MIKE NIPPER
Eurovision: I get excited, you get excited too
May 13 at
Tell me, what do you think about when you think of Malta? Yeah… probably nothing much, eh. But still, when you’ve had some time to think…. Try. Come on! Nothing? But … how about Gorki Park? No? Well, spying then!? Snow? No?? Seriously, you don’t? Well, then why on earth is Morena representing Malta with Vodka, a very up-tempo song about a spy running for her life in Gorki Park after decyphering a code. Or something. Or nothing. Yikes, I wish they’d just pretend to be Chinese again like they did with last year’s Vertigo (favourite lyrics: “you colour me blue, turn my passion to red, it’s feeling like I’ve become indigo”). Still, “Vodka”’s not too horrid, and the choreography should be interesting (something satanic or angelical perhaps? I hear it’s all the rage)
Cyprus sends Evdokia Kadi with Femme Fatale, a song in Greek about … well, about a femme fatale probably. There’s no way to know for sure because I don’t speak Greek, they could be singing their shopping list. It does sound quite sexy though. The Cypriots have something with French titles it seems after they sent Evridiki last year with “comme ci comme ça”. Now allow me to rant for a second about how Evridiki should’ve made it to the final. She should have, it wasn’t fair, I tell you, it wasn’t fair. And you know what, this song should make it to the final as well. I think it’s funny, it’s original, there’s a woman being adored by a bunch of –probably- gay men on their knees, there’s a clothes change and who knows, there might even be a fire/desire rhyme… only in Greek.
FYR Macedonia has always qualified from the Semi-Final and that’s not always on merit, sometimes it was (Tose Proeski –ESC 2004), sometimes it just boggled the mind (Mojot Svet -ESC 2007). They’re one of the countries that could send a farting sheep and still make the top ten. This year –despite the absence of a farting sheep (I didn’t say it was a necessity, did I)- they should do so again even though they send a “genre” (Eurovisioned pop-rap) that doesn’t usually do well at Eurovision. Tamara, Vrčak & Adrijan sing Let me love you, a song about love or sex depending on which gender is talking. But at least they’re enthusiastic about it. The whole thing looks rather messy (they’re too cool not to be messy), the “rappers” seem to forget their whole macho act once they start dancing (which is nice) and there’s a lone backing singer who apparently failed at dance class because he just stands behind the microphone looking lost. Or perhaps he’s too cool to be all choreograph-y and stuff. That’ll be it. I just hope these guys don’t do too well, because I’m not in the mood for 43 R&B/rap songs in next year’s contest. I think I’d even prefer 43 turkeys.
Portugal ends our second semi final. They’re sending Vânia Fernandes with Senhora Do Mar (Negras Águas) . A catchy title if ever I heard one. It means “lady by the sea” which makes sense once you start thinking about it. This is Bombastic Ballad number 250 and it’s another beauty. You can tell from the music and Vania’s facial expressions that this is Tragedy with a capital T. She’s miserable and it’s probably something to do with a guy. Fantastic! Portugal generally does bad at Eurovision but that’s mainly because they’ve hardly ever sent anything decent. Two recent examples? Amar (2005) and Coisas de nada (2006). For some reason there’s not a decent video clip to be found of this song, so it loses some of its power in the bad sound, but hey… if she can pull off the high notes live, she deserves a place in the final.
And that’s it for the second semi-final.
Of these 19 songs 10 will qualify to join the top 10 from the other semi and the 5 automatic qualifiers in the Grand Final. From those 25 songs the winner will be chosen. It’ll either be a Bombastic Ballad, a turkey, a political conspiracy vote or a trashy dance song -probably something to do with the devil-. I can’t wait.
Still to come: Spain, the UK, Germany, France and Serbia. Well, and the actual shows of course.
Below is the video of Dima Bilan’s first rehearsal. As you can see good old Dima (glad to see the mullet is back in full force) has thrown literally everything at this performance. Yes, that is a ladder. And that’s an ice skating rink. And yes, that is Olympic gold medalist Eugeni Pluschenko skating on the Eurovision stage.
Ha. But at least Belgium’s got a circus tent dress! In your face, Dima!
Christian Today has a review of Christian band Delirious?’s new album, Kingdom of Comfort. I don’t know how I stumbled into this site, but it provides a very interesting look into the world of Christian record reviewing.
Firstly, if you want to be a Christian music reviewer, it’s important to assess the spiritual content before you review the musical part: “You cannot help but self-reflect on your priorities after hearing this album.” Note the unnecessary ‘self’ before ‘reflect,’ driving the reviewer even further into his or her own mind. This is deep. Jesus deep.
In fact, the next few sentences don’t mention the music at all, except to use the horrible music-review word ‘ethereal.’ And that the lead singers’ delivery is ‘humble’ and ‘straight-up.’ It continues by saying that this style of singing “makes each song feel as if it is a private confession that he is letting us in on – yet as we listen it becomes our confession too.”
It goes on. There’s another mention of the music here: “And never at any point is music or spiritual substance sacrificed in the name of agenda.” But then the reviewer doesn’t talk about what the music sounds like. Then the reviewer calls two songs “heavenly and beautiful,” without explaining in what way the songs are heavenly and/or beautiful. And then things close by saying: “The balance is perfect and the result is music that puts substance between the ears and stirs a tearful compassion in the heart.”
So, in conclusion, the album has songs that are ethereal, humble, straight-up, beautiful, heavenly, and substantive. I don’t know what kind of music it is, or what kind of songs are on the album—up-tempo? ballads? Eh. Who cares? It’s all about the Jesus.
Recently, I’ve been getting into Brazilian conductor Sérgio Mendes’ late 70’s material. I came across Mendes’ records here and there however, didn’t really know much about the artist until recently. Even though I definitely can’t vouch for all of his music, I can say that I’m a pretty big fan of both Sérgio Mendes & The New Brasil ‘77’s 1977 self-titled LP and Sergio Mendes & Brasil ‘88 1979 Magic Lady LP. Both albums, which I’ve picked up recently, are somewhat departures from Mendes earlier work with his Brasil ‘66. The New Brasil ‘77 record has a laid back, however funky latin-disco sound to it with standout tracks like “The Real Thing”, “Why”, and “Mozambique”. Magic Lady, on the other hand, contains one of Mendes most high energy dance cuts with “I’ll Tell You”, as well as other funky disco numbers like “Lonely Woman” and “Let It Go”. Overall, Sérgio Mendes is one of those complicated artist to get into because he touches so many musical genres with many of his releases being very unique to themselves, however for people who enjoy the more funky disco era stuff, like myself, I highly recommend checking out both The New Brasil ‘77 and Magic Lady albums.
Dowload both Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ‘88’s “I’ll Tell You” and Sérgio Mendes & The New Brasil ‘77’s “The Real Thing” by going here.
When this photo was taken, in 1939, Sibelius had almost twenty years of drinking and smoking left in him—and Sibelius loved his wine and cigars. (He died, at 91, of a healthful brain hemorrhage.)
He didn’t write much music once the haze of alcoholic late-middle age set in, but he did write this recipe for a tasty-sounding punch, on the occasion of a christening in 1943.
1 l water + sugar + jam + brandy or spirit.
Add 2 bottles of wine when everything is completely cold.
Add a few drops of Bergamot oil in a lump of sugar, which must be melted in the water.
(Nota Bene: All mineral waters make the punch black.)
Black punch? Neat!
And can’t you taste that black punch in the sounds of Finlandia?
Imagine walking up the garden path to see Old Man Jean. Maybe it’s dusk. Maybe it’s Finland. Maybe there are reindeer nibbling on your pants. You knock on the door. You wait. The old maestro greets you with a glass of ink.
“Try it!” he croaks. “You’ll like it!”
Cue the music:
The initial apprehension of the low horns. (Black punch? What the fuck?!). The resignation in the strings. (Okay, okay—relax, old man, I’ll take a sip) The timpani rolling as you lift the dark drink to your lips. (Deep breath, don’t gag.) The wondering woodwinds as you let the liquid leak into your mouth, and then…
Damn, Sibelius! This black punch is fucking transcendent!
And then he laughs and laughs and lights another cigar and laughs some more.
(1: George Bernard Shaw wrote about Finlandia in the Manchester Guardian, in 1938: “Sibelius is unquestionably a leader in the front rank of symphonic composers. He has got out of the ruts worn by his predecessors far more completely than Brahms got away from Beethoven, or even Richard Strauss from Wagner. If someone would only burn Finlandia he would come to our young people as an entirely original inventor of a new art form and a new harmony technique.”)
There was King Cobra friction last week. Words exchanged. Disagreement and name calling arose. Shoulders had chips on them. A source was finally cited. (Pictured to the right: Owner Che Sabado as the Flintstone Godfather, Bamm-Bamm Rubble.)
Friday night, a meet up was arranged. I was to talk face to face with booker Jason Rothman, owner Che Sabado, and Bobcat, the club’s web designer / DJ / wrestler. Apprehensive and alone, I entered the club.
Once inside, a cold Pabst beverage was placed in my hand and the threesome said there was something they wanted to show me – in the back alley. “What could be in the back alley?” I thought.
In the alley, the henchman Bobcat put me in a headlock, and I was shown the Fruity Pebbles. “You made a big mistake,” Rothman sneered. Sabado slowly and meticulously opened the box.
I pled, “Not the Fruity Pebbles, ANYTHING BUT THE FRUITY PEBBLES. Please, I’ll never not cite you again.”
Then they showed me to the upper level of the club where more cereal awaited, with milk this time. It was delicious. Rothman said, “Fruity Pebbles is fortified with vitamins and minerals. It’s a fun, wholesome, and tasty way to start your day.”
After the cereal fun, we talked about numbers and operating costs of the club. “King Cobra has nothing to hide,” they said. “We want to be known as a place that’s good to bands.”
Lastly, we bro’d down, cried into our beers, and buried hatchets. Face to face there was love. On stage, the Femurs and No-Fi Soul Rebellion had killer sets. King Cobra is a great club.
Death Cab’s much-anticipated sixth full-length, Narrow Stairs, will be in stores tomorrow, but both Sonic Boom locations will be open at midnight tonight for those who just can’t wait another 24 hours.
There will also be a listening party at Liberty (across from SB Capitol Hill), starting at 10 pm, so you can try before you buy (and partake in drink specials).
NEW YORK - Ex-Talking Heads frontman David Byrne plans to turn a landmark building in Manhattan into a giant musical instrument.
State officials say Byrne will create a temporary installation in the Great Hall of the Battery Maritime Building, which is next to the Whitehall Ferry Terminal.
The “Playing the Building” installation will include devices attached to ceiling beams, plumbing, electrical conduits and other parts of the structure. Sound will be produced through vibration, making the building function as an instrument.
The Little Ones, Ra Ra Riot, Panda & Angel
(Chop Suey) I mostly know the Little Ones from their friends in high places: I first heard their pretty perfect pop gem “Lovers Who Uncover” as remixed by wicked 8-bit electro goths Crystal Castles. The next time I heard it was watching old DVDs of Veronica Mars. Their new EP, Terry Tales & Fallen Gates, might not live up to the strength of that fantastic single, but it reveals a sweet, gentle pop band, equally influenced by the sunny, beach rock of their native California and the moody gray jangle of faraway England. Syracuse, New York, youngsters Ra Ra Riot are like a miniature Arcade Fire, ditching the overwrought theatricality but keeping the furiously shredding string section (and actually making an electric cello look pretty good). Locals Panda & Angel open with their delicate, frozen-cold indie pop. ERIC GRANDY
Eurovision: decent songs about peace (or piss) and exquisite talent.
May 11 at
Ooh, action in Eurovision land! The rehearsals have started today. For those obsessives, you can read reports of the rehearsals on All Kinds of Everything over on Livejournal. They’re Irish, so they’ll go mad over the turkey. What have I learned so far? Moldova lost their bubbles, Israel is selling man-candy and Estonia is still the same. For me, this is the highlight of my day.
But on with the previews, because otherwise we’ll never get this damned thing finished and the first Semi is just over a week from now.
We move away from Bulgaria’s (fantastic) trashy beats to an annoyingly “decent” song from Denmark. What is it with “decent songs” and their invasion of Eurovision? Why? Simon Mathews’ All Night Long (and I can’t help but sing Lionel Richie’s song over this title) reminds me of Denmarks last decent result: “I’m talking to you” by Jakob Sveistrop in 2005. From last year’s pink feathered drama queen to this, variety is a keyword in Eurovision. The problem with this is, it’s a good song. It’s a happy song, it’s sung well, the guy has charisma, he’s got self-confidence, he’s suave, nice to look at… but it doesn’t do anything for me at all. It just bores me. Still, I’m sure Simon won’t be upset that little old me doesn’t like him, knowing how my favourites usually fare at Eurovision (*cough* Bulgaria *cough*), he’s better off with me not liking him, and I’m pretty sure he’ll do well. I wonder if he’ll be bringing the band (with the actual instruments –urgh-) on stage with him, or if he’ll go for the feathered girls from his promo video (yep, Lineout taught me to watch promo videos).
Georgia’s Diana Gurtskaya goes for the age-old Eurovision classic: songs about peace (see Ein Bisschen Frieden back in 1982) She sings “Peace will come” in an effort to reassure us that things will be alright and give us hope in these troubled times. Now I know I’m a horrid person, and I’m probably hallucinating (reviewing all these songs will do that to you) but on my ipod her chorus sounds suspiciously much like “Piss will come” which –since I’m a 10-year-old at heart- amuses me to no end. Eurovision accents are the best! (… Yeah, give me a boll of yarn and I’m quiet for hours, no trouble at all.) Last year’s Georgian entry (their debut: Sopho – Visionary dream) was quite great (a lady in a red dress surrounded by sword-fighters), but this year… Urgh. I’m too cynical to believe in songs about peace. The performance of this song however –the complete ridiculousness of it- makes up for a lot. “What can we do to prevent a song about peace from turning into a bathroom-break? Oh! I know! Choreograph it to death! We’ll turn Diana from a devil into an angel (do all choreographers go to the same costume shop or something? Or did they all copy one guy who’s now extremely pissed off?) and we’ll camouflage it all with a gigantic bed-sheet. Fantastic!”
Looks like this year’s Eurovision theme is devils and angels then.
Csézy represents Hungary with the song Candlelight. The Eurovision bio calls Csézy a “young, beautiful and exquisitely talented singer” and her song “another beautiful, heartbreaking ballad”, the backing singers meanwhile are “superb background vocalists”. Seriously, who the hell writes these things? They’re a fan, that’s for sure. And seeing as this is a girl with smoky eyes singing a bombastic –ahem, heartbreaking- ballad, so am I.