Cadence Weapon's got the advantage of a clear leader, plus greater ethnic diversity, but Q and Not U has a drum kit and balloons...
Thanks to an article in Wax Poetics (No. 31, with Shuggie Otis and MF DOOM on the covers), I just discovered—better late than never—this wacky, weird Macca cut, “Check My Machine” (the B-side to the “Waterfalls” single and a bonus track on the CD reissue of the 1980 album McCartney II; I always had the vinyl, so was unaware of this tune—gah.).
"Check My Machine" appears to be a throwaway track in which a seriously stoned Paul, um, checks out his machine. Out came a falsetto-laced, banjo-riffed, white-boy reggae tune with odd little electronic elements flitting about it. If Lee "Scratch" Perry were an ex-Beatle, he might've concocted something like this. The only other work in Paul's solo repertoire that may be stranger is “Temporary Secretary,” a new-wave dance number that sounds like the multi-millionaire vegetarian’s attempt at a Kraftwerk-esque novelty song.
Matt Moroni (a.k.a. DJ Introcut) has been hired by Chop Suey to book electronic-music and hiphop shows. A member of the Fourthcity crew and an outstanding DJ in his own right, Moroni already has made his presence felt by booking Module, eR Don, Electrosect, and Scratchmaster Joe on Dec. 10 (see next week’s Data Breaker column for more information) and Linda and Ron’s Dad, Pontius Pilots, Flexions, and others on Dec. 17.
A tireless promoter and one of the principals of Poster Midget, Introcut also spins at Lo_Fi’s Tuesday night weekly Stop Biting and Sunset Tavern’s monthly Trashy Trash dance party. He also provided cuts on track 1 of Truckasauras’ Tea Parties, Guns & Valor and for the Galactic Ionization Unit CD-R (Brushed Golden).
With his extensive connections and strong knowledge of electronic music and rap, Moroni should prove to be a valuable addition to Chop Suey's staff (which includes ex-Crocodile booker Pete Greenberg), enabling the Capitol Hill club to compete more seriously with Neumos for shows in those genres.
I hope this scene makes it to the new movie:
(Via SF Signal.)
There will be two services this weekend to remember John Spalding, a local musician who passed away last Sunday after a long battle with lung cancer. This Sunday, November 30th, there will be a candle vigil at Our Lady Guadalupe (7000 35th Ave SW) from 7-9 pm. There will be a benefit party afterwards at the War Room (722 E Pike St). Then, on Monday, there will be a morning memorial service at 11 am, also at Our Lady Guadalupe.
There will also be more benefit shows in the future, as well as an official release of John's record The Beautiful Truth. Details will be posted as they come in.
You can still donate to the John D. Spalding Medical Fund at any Bank of America. The money will be used to help John's family pay off the remaining medical bills.
Love Battery, Tom Price Desert Classic, Bug Nasties
(Sunset) Whoa, Love Battery are back? (Oops, I see they played one show in 2006 when I wasn't looking. My bad.) Anyway, in Sub Pop's grunge golden days, Love Battery gleamed like a fluorescent, feathered serpent amid their earthbound brontosaurus brethren honing their Deep Led Sabbath riffs. The Ron Nine–led group's Between the Eyes and Dayglo remain psychedelic twin towers in the Seattle label's voluminous catalog. Love Battery's brand of psych rock eschewed that genre's more flowery aspects for a bruising, cruising approach that made mind expansion seem like a contact sport. It'll be interesting to see if Love Battery (with three original members in the lineup) can resuscitate the prickly tunefulness of their early-'90s peak. DAVE SEGAL
Portugal. The Man, Earl Greyhound, Wintersleep
(El Corazón) Portugal. The Man have developed into an orchestral-rock ensemble embracing classic difficult-third-album ambitions with the new Censored Colors. On the Portland-via-Wasilla quartet's last tour supporting 2007's Church Mouth, they plied a more raucous, punk-inflected style that favored flailing energy over finesse. Now they're stacking angelic and falsetto vocals over sweeping, baroque rock that fans of late-period Beatles and Pink Floyd—or even the Polyphonic Spree—might appreciate. P.TM have smoothed their edges, whittled away their blues proclivities, and inflated their songcraft to grandiose dimensions. It's a bold change, and one that may not endear them to their rowdier fans. Whether you think it's progress depends on your stance on progressive rock. DAVE SEGAL
Photo by www.ronhenryphoto.com
Pica Beats, the Little Penguins, Exploding High Fives, Red Sea Sharks
(Comet) Fun facts about the Little Penguins! Fact 1: The band are from Seattle and feature ex-members of Vista Vista and Fleet Foxes. Fact 2: The Little Penguins sound only a little bit like Vista Vista and nothing like Fleet Foxes. Fact 3: Erik Blood of the Turn-Ons both produced and occasionally played on the band's new album, Offer You This Cape, which is being celebrated at tonight's CD-release show. Fact 4: The Little Penguins also sound nothing like the Turn-Ons. Fact 5: Offer You This Cape is not as sonically bright as their 2007 debut, Welcome to the Celebration. It still holds a few moments of sunshine and warmth, but on their sophomore release, it sounds like maybe the Pacific Northwest weather got to them... just a bit. Fact 6: You can't be happy all the time, so it works. MEGAN SELING
Need another reason to head to the Comet tonight? Click here to find out what Eric Grandy had to say about the Pica Beats in this week's Stranger Suggests.
Listen to the Little Penguins!
Hanson Brothers, Neutralboy, Pirex
(King Cobra) Vancouver brothers Rob and John Wright are approaching the 30th birthday of their quintessential prog-punk outfit Nomeanso. And while those graying Canucks continue to hone their chops in their primary ensemble, age has not tempered their desire to rock in a more primal fashion. Under the banner of their alter egos—Hanson Brothers—the Wrights churn out traditional, rudimentary punk rock. Eschewing the rhythmic complexities and fretboard dexterity of Nomeanso in favor of Ramones-inspired three-chord anthems, the Wrights reveal the two groups' polar nature—which might disappoint the die-hard fans of either camp. Yet the duality works in the Hanson Brothers' favor. The complexities of Nomeanso legitimize the Bros' simplicity, and their base rock moments humanize their lead project's brainy tendencies. BRIAN COOK
There's also the Herbaliser, J Boogie's Dubtronic Science, and SunTzu Sound at Nectar, Future Collective at Gallery 1412, and so much more in our online calendar.
Happy Black Friday!
Check out the video to the title track of their latest album, Same As It Never Was.
A song to add to your Black Friday playlist:
Tennis Pro - "Biggest Shopping Day of the Year"
...and therefore forgot to post this lovely No-Neck Blues Band album review by Mr. Segal. I regret the error.
It's Thanksgiving. Stay home. You'll probably feel too bloated to leave the house after that third slice of pie anyway. Tomorrow night, though, tomorrow night it's on. There's lots of great shit happening tomorrow night. Just you wait.
But for now, eat some more and enjoy another song about this magical day:
...in this week's music section:
There's Headbangers Brawl, in which resident metal-heads Jeff Kirby and Shane Mehling go head to head regarding the Sword, Metallica, and the meaning of True Metal:
"Evidently we're Lars Ulrich's favorite band," says Sword frontman J. D. Cronise.
And rightly so. I've said it before: I want the Sword to rule the metal world. And even though it's harder to admit now that it actually costs $80 to see them play in a basketball stadium, I still want this. Which is why opening for Metallica is the perfect gig for the Sword: No matter how much Metallica declined over the years, their crowds never dwindled (apparently they don't need us critics to fill stadiums), and Metallica fans should be Sword fans.
After only two records, the Sword have gained a massive mainstream fan base by shamelessly cribbing High on Fire, Sleep, Kyuss, Orange Goblin, Pentagram, Electric Wizard, Saint Vitus, Acid King—I could go on. For a while. Nothing in their half-assed pastiche resembles an original thought or riff. There has been a near-constant output of stoner/doom metal for the last 40 years, but aside from genre godfathers Black Sabbath, the Sword are singular in their popularity. Why?
Then there's Triumh of the Shrill, in which Sam McPheeters tears into Guns'n'Roses' 17-years-in-the-making mastershit, Chinese Democracy (and with no Kirby analog to argue the "pro" side):
Let's take just a moment to mourn the death of "Chinese Democracy" as a phrase. For those of us not sold on the brilliance of Guns N' Roses, those two words have long served asshorthand for a kind of averted disaster, like "Y2K" or "2006 transatlantic aircraft plot." For the last decade, Chinese Democracy (the album) existed only as a concept; a joke about its own unlikelihood; a statement about writer's block, perfectionism, obsession, and reclusion. The reclusion part was nice. It was nice not hearing from vocalist and franchise-owner Axl Rose for a while.
It gets better.
There's me on the Hold Steady and Vivian Girls's Drinking Problems, Dave Segal on the Herbaliser's Head-Nodding Hedonism, plus all the usual columns, Up & Coming listings, and Album Reviews. It's all right here.
Going against all notions of economic common sense, Eric Lanzillotta from the Anomalous label/mail order business and Ri Be Xibalba and Tanith Lanzillotta from the band Forest of Grey have just opened a shop called Dissonant Plane. A music retail establishment. That doesn’t sell popular music. In late 2008. Ballsy.
From Eric’s email:
What you will find here is a store selling things [CDs, DVDs, books] you won't find in other places in Seattle. [We specialize] in black metal, free improvisation, avant-garde classical, experimental, ambient, and many other regions. Our stock is small so far, but growing all the time and includes a lot of special items, including many out of print items from the archives of Anomalous Records.
My wallet just wept a little.
From me to you, the best Christmas tune in the history of beings that are human.
With only an hour of work left before a long holiday weekend, I leave you with this video of a New Kid on the Block singing a song about turkeys and pumpkin pies:
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
But what's the word for when Britain loves you?
Whatever it is, it's totally applicable to Fleet Foxes, whose debut record is the #2 Album of the Year in Q Magazine's music poll.
Beyonce Has #1 Record: Or Sasha Fierce does. Whatever.
Shitastic: Coheed and Cambria announce tour with Slipknot.
Matt Pond Releases Free Album: And it has a longer name than that Fiona Apple record!
Jesus Lizard Announce Reunion: And 2009 tour dates.
Former MTV Exec Takes Over MySpace Music: I don't really care, but it's a slow music news day and wanted more than four items.
Now please enjoy this:
Low has always done Christmas songs perfectly—their cover of "Little Drummer Boy," as Pitchfork already pointed out, "served to obliterate all cynicism and drown the world in a white mist of shared wonder." And their song "Just Like Christmas" has been a lo-fi bell-laden mainstay on every Holiday mix CD I've made since 1999.
For me, Low is a holiday staple. But their new Christmas song, "Santa's Coming Over" is just not right. Actually, the song is fine. It's pretty dour, but not every holiday song has to be happy (see Murder City Devils' "364 Days Until I See You Again"). Then I saw the video that accompanies Low's new opus; the video is unsettling. It's a string of kids' faces looking terrified, confused, uncomfortable, and, in some cases, homicidal (I'm talking to you, Mr. One-Minute-and-Thirty-Seven-Seconds). Like the director said to them "Okay, kid, when you sing along look like Santa's coming over... to beat your puppy to death."
I love it.
From 1994 to Infinity:
The tune comes with a memory. In time, the summer of 1994; in space, the Bay Area; in love, me with two tall women. One is my girlfriend; the other is my girlfriend's best friend—both look very much alike. From close, one might confuse them for sisters; from far, for twins. I have known and loved both since the winter of the previous year—1993—the year after I discovered Nabokov. For the trip down from Seattle (me, the passenger; my girlfriend, the driver), I brought all of the works of a poet I had just discovered, Yeats. That is all I want to read that summer. The next summer I will discover and read all of Proust while staying at a cabin near the line where Oregon finishes and the ocean begins.
It is my first time in San Francisco, and my lover's best friend, who used to live in Seattle, now lives in the Mission District, in a two-story row house that shares a leafy, shade-cool courtyard with other row houses. My lover's best friend is a rising DJ. Her bedroom is packed with old and new rap records. She plays me everything that is important to her. And the most important record of the moment is Souls of Mischief's 93 'Til Inifinity. Because Souls of Mischief are from East Oakland, bars and parties all across the Bay Area are playing their record from start to no end. This is the birth of Left Coast hiphop.
The album, 93 'Til Infinity, shares its name with its most popular track. To this day, there is not a week that closes without within it four minutes being filled by the sad melodies and pounding beats that make "93 'Til Infinity" one of the highest aesthetic achievements in hiphop production. In fact, I now only listen to the instrumental version. The music says much more than the words. It's about the diamond infinity of moments that, in glittering rings, radiate from 1994 until the present, the now, the moment that's being crystalized by the sorrowful soul of the looped electric piano, the lonely blow of the Pete Rock-like horn, and the man-machine compression of the drum machine.
Next to the room I first heard "93 'Til Infinity," is the room I first read these lines, which, like the song, I return to again and again: "Though I am old with wandering/Through hollow lands and hilly lands/I will find out where she has gone/And kiss her lips and take her hands/And walk among long dappled grass/And pluck till time and times are done/The silver apples of the moon/The golden apples of the sun."
I've missed M83 every time they've come through town, which is a shame because I'm quite fond of much of their older work and am completely head over heels in John Hughes musical montage teenage love with their most recent album, Saturdays=Youth. Still, though, I'd heard mixed reviews of their live shows, so I was going into their show at Neumos last night with both high expectations and just a bit of worry. If I was worried, though, I seemed to be alone in the sold out crowd; as Anthony Gonzalez took the stage alone and began the set by holding down one sustained, slowly unfurling synth chord, the audience let loose with cheers—possibly the first time I've ever heard cheers for such a soft synth pad.
Still, I could see what people might complain about regarding the live show: the band is pretty damn introverted (in the classical sense of the word shoegaze). Frontman Anthony Gonzalez spent much of the show at 90 degrees to the audience commanding a cluster of synths, and he rarely took to the mic between songs except for the occasional soft-spoken gratitude. Someone at the show tells me you could see him chewing gum during most of the set. The biggest stage presences by far were the super-tight drummer, who played behind a glass partition presumably so the band could perfect the mix and just nailed every fill and double-time hi-hat, and keyboardist/vocalist Morgan Kibby. The first vocals I heard in the set seemed to be playing pre-recorded, from a laptop perched above Gonzalez's synths, and for a second I wondered if all their vocals were going to be delivered in this disembodied manner, if maybe that's what everyone had been complaining about. Thankfully, though, when the band launched into the aching, swooning hit "Kim & Jessie" (after three very mellow, mostly instrumental opening tracks), Gonzalez and crew took to their mics and started singing.
From there, though, they pretty much had me. "Kim & Jessie" is just an unbearably airy pop song, unfuckwithable, catchy as hell, and they followed it up with the two next best songs on Saturdays=Youth, "We Own the Sky," which they played with a little added arpeggiated outro, and "Graveyard Girl," whose hopeless romantic vibes had couples kissing in the corners. They closed with—I think—"You, Appearing" and encored with a fairly rocking, clubby rendition of "Couleurs" (another great one from Saturdays), after which the applauded and bowed like they were playing a classical concert rather than a rock show. I noticed at the merch booth a sign that said something about "buy a cd, get a pass to meet the band at an autograph session directly after the show," which struck me as a little silly and presumptuous, until I noticed the mooney expressions on the faces of the girls in the front row, one of whom leapt onstage between the set and the encore to snag a set-list. I didn't stick around, but I image Gonzalez signed at least a few autographs last night. And, you know what? Good for M83—they totally deserve all the rapturous fans they can get.
Due to a bad tip re: set times, I missed most of School of Seven Bells' set, but what I did see confirmed the cold feeling that I've gotten from their album Alpinisms. SVIIB just strikes me as a band with a great sound but without really great songs. Clearly, these are talented musicians with good gear and good ears and a taste for the gentler, glossier side of shoegaze (they sounded, generously, like a more restrained My Bloody Valentine with more upfront female vocals), but I couldn't really hum you one of their choruses if I tried. I'm as much of a sound design geek as anyone, but at the end of the day, I'll almost always take the catchy song with the shitty production (cf. punk rock) to the pristine production without the hooks. Even a lot of minimal techno doesn't get a pass from me if it cant muster a good melody to throw over the monotonous thump. Of course, I could never quite get excited for the Secret Machines, either.