This just might be the greatest diss record of all time, and it's not even a record, per se. But it is most certainly a diss. Courtesy of Stereogum, the video of Jay-Z opening his controversial (only to rockists) set at the Glastonbury Festival by "covering" Oasis' biggest hit, the romantic ballad "Wonderwall". After that, Jay-Z launches into a re-tooled version of one of his greatest tracks.
Based on the clip, I'd say Hova's got 99 Problems, but sarcasm definitely ain't one.
Foxy Tann - emcee 6:00-6:30 Rope Trick 6:45-7:15 Venus DeMars & All the Pretty Horses 7:30-8:00 Black Blondie 8:15-8:45 Dykes Do Drag 9:00-10:15 Tina Schlieske & Band
(Dosh - "Fireball" -Live at the Varsity Theater)
After getting reviewed by Pitchfork, and interviewed by the AV Club, the one thing left to do is to play live, and that's what Dosh is going to do tonight at First Ave. Show is 18+, and tickets are $12. P.O.S. and Kill The Vultures open.
Hey there neighbors. I'd thought I'd make a little hip-hop playlist of some tracks I've been really into these past few days. First off is a remix of Erykah Badu's "The Healer", featuring Pharaohe Monch, who last year released one of my favorite record of 2007, Desire; next up, shit-hot rappers The Cool Kids with an unreleased Bake Sale track called "Unos". Finally, two local tracks: Dodi Phy's "The Truth", featuring Muja Messiah; and electro-hip-hop act Mux Mool, with a track called "Insecure Drum".
Oxford Collapse's 2006 Sub-Pop debut Remember The Night Parties was cathartic indie-rock comfort food. The music was familiar, sure, to anyone who'd ever attended a sparsely-attended underground rock show in the past two decades. But wow, was OC ever capable of delivering the anthemic goods--check the raucous, jangly sing-along "Please Visit Your National Parks", if you don't believe me. There, you'll find one of that year's best songs.
So, naturally, expectations are high. Yesterday, the veritable indie-label posted a new track from their forthcoming album Bits (the cover art for which you see at the top of the post). So does it meet expectations?
Well...I don't think so. The guitar riff is certainly catchy, and it sounds like the beginning of a potentially great song. However, once the rest of the band kicks in, the track is content to repeat itself over and over again. The experience was anti-climatic. "The Birthday Wars" sounds like its gonna start a riot, but then backs off, perhaps distract by some sort of appeasement that we'll never find out about. Maybe "The Birthday Wars" works better in the context of an entire album, but as a stand-alone single, it can't elicit a reaction other than sheer ambivalence.
But, as I said, maybe the song works better in the context of the record, the track-listing for which is below.
1. Electric Arc 2. The Birthday Wars 3. Vernon-Jackson 4. Young Love Delivers 5. Back of the Yards 6. A Wedding 7. Featherbeds 8. For the Winter Coats 9. Men and Their Ideas 10. Children's Crusade 11. John Blood 12. B-Roll 13. I Hate Nobody
Joining rare company as R.E.M on "The Colbert Report", and The White Stripes on "The Daily Show", Coldplay, whose Viva La Vida topped the charts pretty much everywhere it could (Frontman Chris Martin jokes about the band being popular in "The Axis of Evil"), performed not one, but two tracks from the aforementioned record on the Comedy Central poli-humor institution. Pleasantly, the songs performed are "42" and "Lost", which means that, between the free release of "Violet Hill", the ubiquitous ad campaigns for Apple, and these performances, fans have a good idea of what the album sounds like; if they didn't already, what with the leak, and buying the album in droves this past week.
The first video is pure performance, while the second video contains a brief interview, where Stewart asks the band that, since the band has played the show, "Are there any more mountains to climb"?
Man alive. If you've been to p4k or Idolator, you've seen this already. But if you haven't...behold! Kanye West's response to the fabled Bonnaroo incident. Enjoy the wrath of Kanye (via Weezy/idolator/pitchfork):
I am sick of negative people who just sit around trying 2 plot my downfall... Why???? I understand if people don't like me because I like me or if people think tight clothes look gay or people say I run my mouth to much, But this Bonnaroo thing is the worst insult I've ever had in my life. This is the most offended I've ever been... this is the maddest I ever will be. I'm typing so fucking hard I might break my fucking Mac book Air!!!!!!!! Call me any name you want.... arrogant, conceited, narcissistic, racist, metro, fag whatever you can think of.... BUT NEVER SAY I DIDN'T GIVE MY ALL! NEVER SAY I DIDN'T GIVE MY ALL! THIS SHOWS NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY TO BE GOOD AT SOMETHING THERE WILL BE PEOPLE THERE TO LIE ABOUT YOU AND BRING YOU DOWN! LIKE WAYNE SAYS PLEASE DON'T SHOOT ME DOWN CAUSE I'M FLYING! I'M FUCKING HURT BY THIS ONE. ALL I CARE ABOUT ARE THE FANS. JUST SAY THIS OUT LOUD IN A ROOM FULL OF PEOPLE, "KANYE DOESN'T CARE ABOUT GIVING A GOOD PERFORMANCE." CAN ANYONE HONESTLY SAY THAT ????????? HAS ANYONE EVEN TAKEN THE TIME TO AT LEAST DO THE MATH??? BONNAROO SHOULD HAVE RELEASED A STATEMENT IN MY DEFENSE BUT SINCE THEY HAVEN'T LET'S BREAK DOWN THE WALLS ON THIS TRUMAN SHOW AND LET YOU KNOW WHAT REALLY OCCURRED!!! FOR OVER A MONTH WE WENT BACK AND FORTH ON WETHER OR NOT WE COULD EVEN FIT MY STAGE AT THE FESTIVAL. ONE DAY THEY WOULD SAY YES... WE'D SEND THEM OUR SPECS THEN THEY THEY'D SAY OK... THEN THEY WOULD SEND SPECS BACK THAT DIDN'T FIT THE STAGE. WE WERE OBVIOUSLY DEALING WITH FUCKING IDIOTS WHO DIDN'T REALLY HAVE THE CAPACITY TO REALLY PUT ON THIS SHOW PROPERLY. THEY TRIED 2 GIVE ME A TIME SLOT WERE IT WAS STILL LIGHT OUTSIDE ... I HAVE A FUCKING LIGHT SHOW DUMB ASS, IT'S NOT CALLED GLOW IN THE DARK FOR NO REASON SQUID BRAINS! MY PEOPLE WORKED OUT A COMPROMISED STAGE PLOT AND A 3AM TIME SLOT AND I AGREED. FAST FOWARD TO THE DAY OF THE SHOW. MY PRODUCTION MANAGER TRIED TO LOAD IN FOR 24 HOURS BEFORE I WENT ON STAGE BUT THE FESTIVAL WOULDN'T ALLOW US TO DO ANYTHING UNTILL PEARL JAM LEFT THE STAGE. PEARL JAM ENDED ONE HOUR LATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AT THAT POINT WE'RE RACING AGAINST THE SUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AT 4:20AM DON COMES BACK 2 THE BUS AND TELLS ME, " IT WOULD TAKE 45 MORE MINUTES TO PUT ALL YOUR PYRO IN!" I SAY I HAVE TO GET OUT THERE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE . I HIT THE STAGE AND PEOPLE HAD BEEN THROWING SHIT ON THE STAGE AND HAD ACTUALLY HIT THE JANE SCREEN WITH, I GUESS BOTTLES OR SOMETHING AND HAD BROKEN MY FUCKING SCREEN. REMEMBER WHEN YOU WERE A SHORTY AND WATER WOULD HIT THE TV?????? WHEN I GOT 2 "THROUGH THE WIRE" I STEPPED ON THE FRONT PART OF MY STAGE AND THERE WAS SO MUCH LIQUID ON THE STAGE I COULDN'T MOVE WITHOUT SLIPPING. I HAD TO ADJUST MY WHOLE PERFORMANCE STYLE BECAUSE OF IT. A FEW MORE SONGS IN AND THE SONG WAS ON IT'S WAY UP.. I CUT A FEW SONGS FROM THE SET BECAUSE I WANTED PEOPLE 2 EXPERIENCE STRONGER WHILE THERE WAS STILL SOME DARKNESS TO PERFORM IT IN. I'VE STRUGGLED WITH STRONGER FROM IT'S CONCEPTION. REMEMBER LAST SUMMER WHEN I CANCELED SOME TV APPEARANCES. IT WAS BECAUSE I DIDN'T WANT TO PERFORM STRONGER IN THE DAYTIME. ANYONE WHO CAME TO THE GLOW TOUR CAN UNDERSTAND WHY I WANTED PEOPLE TO SEE IT PROPERLY. IT BROKE MY HEART THAT I COULDN'T GIVE THESE FANS STRONGER IN IT'S GREATEST FORM... BY THE TIME I GOT TO STRONGER IT WAS DAYTIME AND IT BROKE MY HEART. I'M SORRY TO EVERYONE THAT I DIDN'T HAVE THE ABILITY 2 GIVE THE PERFORMANCE I WANTED TO. I'M SORRY... SOMETIMES I GO 2, 3 DAYS W/O SLEEP WORKING ON MY PERFORMANCE... I HAVE TO ICE MY KNEES AFTER EVERY SHOW AND THEY HURT WHEN I WALK THROUGH THE AIRPORT... HAVING AN EXPENSIVE STAGE CUTS MY PAYDAY IN HALF... CALL ME WHAT YOU WANT BUT NEVER SAY I DIDN'T GIVE MY ALL!!!
In related news, Eddie Vedder was seen crying into his Victory Storm King Stout and rapidly chain-smoking American Spirits.
Can't Chicago-based musicians just get along?
In more constructive 'Ye news, Fake Shore Drive has a new West track up. Download it here. Song is called "Gotta Pose".
Live Review: Shearwater, The Mansion, Chicago, IL (6/24/08)
Last night, I caught one of most solid triple bills of indie art-rock perhaps ever conceived. Well, maybe that's a bit of hyperbole, but it was a very enjoyable show. Shearwater, Frog Eyes, and Evangelicals all brought their A game to Chicago's The Mansion, a former residence turned into a live venue. The Mansion has been open hardly a year, so I was highly curious about what a show there would be like. The venue consisted of high ceilings and the not-quite 18th century design that would befit an evening of baroque indie-music performed with the focus of a veteran chamber ensemble.
Up first were Evangelicals. On record, (that being their debut The Evening Descends, the band frequently is compared to The Flaming Lips, for merely being psychedelically-inclined and for being from the same town. Live, Evangelicals are more muscular, suggesting a musical universe where Joe Strummer embraced otherworldly soundscapes and Beatles-esque songcraft in his post-Clash, pre-Mescalleros wilderness years. Evangelicals on the whole were tight, energetic, and wonderfully chaotic. This shot, low-quality as it is, should give you a pretty good idea as to what you can expect should you choose to see the quartet live in concert sometime soon.
If The Howling weren't already the title of a horror film from the 1980s, it could perfectly describe Frog Eyes' set. And I'm not just saying that because dude is rockin' a beard and howls at the rafters whenever he becomes passionately involved in his singing. Throughout their spectacular set, the band had a spellbinding presence that seem to border on supernatural. Their brand of spectral indie-rock haunted and captivated the Mansion audience. The group is playing the Triple Rock on Thursday. If you decide to attend, it surely will be a show that you won't forget. And not because the band turns into wolves and murders the audience, Dethklok-style. Except I mean metaphorically and musically.
Buy tickets for the T-Rock show here. Show is 21+.
Last up was Shearwater. Jonathan Meisburg's voice was so powerful and piercing that mere amplification could not contain it. As the band adeptly switched instruments to play selections from their last two creative breakthroughs, Palo Santo, and this year's Rook, the amount of focus to detail--in terms of arrangements, song dynamics, and songcraft--was simply astonishing. Precision and control are key words to describe the Shearwater live experience. The group performs with a flexible discipline that allows warmth and heart-rending humanity to creep into songs which are orchestrally impeccable. The band is playing tonight, with The Haves Have It, at the Entry. It is a show you do not want to miss.
One of the best qualities of Dosh's new album Wolves and Wishes, and perhaps his oeuvre in general, is how the music as a whole can start quietly, or in lo-key fashion, and then end with gloriously transcendent highs before the listener has even fully processed what has occurred. It's the type of scenario that has consumers of the music engaging in constant double-takes: "wait, what was that? I wanna hear that again." And so forth, until you find yourself listening again and again, constantly hearing new sonic patterns and pastiches to discover, digest, and, ultimately, take utter delight in.
But don't take my word for it. Indie institution Pitchfork has reviewedWolves and Wishes, giving it a 7.7. Writer Roque Strew puts Dosh's work in both electronic and hip-hop contexts, and then elaborates upon that theme by stating:
But listening to Dosh, as opposed to listening to the equally skilled Four Tet, you don't have the sense of technology rudely intruding into the creative process, of the wizard too busy to care whether we can see him behind the curtain. He does care: where Four Tet parades his mastery of vivid, unapologetic collage, Dosh goes for a mastery of illusion. So like any illusionist, he takes care to start and end with a bang
Minneapolis Hip-Hop News Roundup: Brother Ali, Toki Wright, Muja Messiah, Big Quarters
There's been several little bits of news regarding some of Minneapolis' best hip-hop acts, so I would figured that I'd consolidate them into one big post, as opposed to several little ones. Here's the info:
MFR-reader favorite Brother Ali has been touring his nuts off since March's "Truth Is Here Tour". Now that festival season is finally upon us, the rapper sure doesn't show any signs of slowing down. This August, Brother Ali will be spitting the truth for Pacific Northwesterners at Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival, an all-day fest which helps promote sustainability. Looks like Ali has got some great company, both in terms of indie and hip-hop: check out the line-up here.
Mr. Wright keeps plugging away with his "Best Week Ever" series, and the entry for June 20th is as strong as his last installments were. Addressing current events as the R. Kelly verdict, the planned RNC convention, and wiretapping (both in the case of Fiddy and the Supreme Court), Wright delivers another knockout, with adept flow and profound insight. Listen to it here, then check out the Soundset freestyle at the top of the post. More of those here.
Muja Messiah/Big Quarters
(Big Quarters - "August" Feat. Alicia Steele)
Rapper Muja Messiah is so nice, he made the tracklisting of indie music comp Rock The Dub Lighthouse Project 2 tracklisting twice. Also making it were Minneapolis rap duo Big Quarters. Check out the tracklisting here, then watch the video for Big Quarters' "August" jam straight above. The cover album for Lighthouse is down below.
Jenny Dalton Announces Second Annual Multi-Media Show
Though Minneapolis-based pianist/singer-songwriter Jenny Dalton may be compared to many other artists—Little Earthquakes-era Tori Amos is one; Kate Bush is another—the redheaded friend of the Twin Cities need not worry about being labeled as derivative. Even if she were, all she would need to rebut such claims would be point to her own visual creativity, as well as her penchant for re-arrangements. Last year, Dalton showcased her talent for images and sonic pastiches at the Bryant Lake Bowl by debuting several videos and remixes of tracks from her debut record Fleur De Lily. That re-mix album, Carbon Lily, was released later in 2007. Check out some of the handiwork:
But, in order to debut some of the material, as well as to flesh out her more well-established songs, Dalton put together a multi-media event with a 7-piece band.
The event was such a success that Dalton is doing it all again. And, like last year, this year’s multi-media extravaganza will surely enrapt the audience. Check this out, via Dalton herself:
This year's multimedia show will feature the Best of the 48-Hour Film Festival, and Dalton will be joined on stage with former Cloud Cult members Dan Greenwood on drums, Mara Stemm on bass, and Deborah Copperud on cello as well as by folk heroine Eliza Blue on violin and back-up vocals. The 2-hour performance will be accompanied by artist El Perdido's live illustrations and other surprises...
Other surprises? But what, who, could that be? Yup, you guessed it. Frank Stallone.
In all seriousness, the barebones details sound quite enticing. So set your calendar aside for July 24th, because that’s when it all goes down. Tix are $8 for an all-ages show. Doors are at six, and the two-hour performance begins at 7. Buy advance tickets here.
In other Dalton news, Ms. Jenny has released the latest episode of her podcast, which you can listen to here. here
Check out another video of Dalton in action. From last year's BSB show, she's performing her song "Awake".
One of the oldest tricks in the avant-garde playbook is to start off with your most abrasive, least-accessible track in order to throw-off potentially casual listeners who would otherwise be delighted by the more accessible material that follows. The most modern examples of this behavior include Bright Eyes ("Lifted") and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (both albums).
For their second album, A Thousand Shark's Teeth, My Brightest Diamond, led by Sufjan Stevens collaborator Shara Warden, perform the inverse of this gimmick. That is, the record begins with its most straightforward songs. I'm not sure "Inside a Boy" and "Ice & The Storm" qualify as MBD putting its best foot forward, but these tracks are certainly the most inviting and forthcoming for the listener. From there, Shark's Teeth withdraws into a self-indulgently artistic, symphono-rock cocoon. Aside from peeking its musical head out occasionally, Groundhog-style, it is a place where the album is unfortunately content to stay.
Teeth may please music fans who are alienated by Bjork's more idiosyncratic tendencies (Moe Syzlak's characterization of post-modernism as "<"weird for the sake of weird" would ring true to most Bjork detractors), or wish that Radiohead's post-Ok Computer, Pre-In Rainbows material had more warmth. But for those already well-versed with the previously mentioned acts, My Brightest Diamond's Teeth will only make a few marks.
(My Brightest Diamond - "Black and Costraud" - Live at Berklee)
While My Brightest Diamond's debut album, Bring Me The Workhorse, took its cues from Jeff Buckley's brand of lush, romantically orchestral brand of Zeppelin-derived rock music, it was an album that certainly could be admired, but not really enjoyed on a visceral level. However, it should be noted that my opinion was in the minority--Workhorse showed up on many best-of lists for 2006. Despite not being wholly gung-ho about MBD, I still looked forward to a follow-up. Why? Because, live, My Brightest Diamond packs a punch that is not readily present in their studio output. Simply put, getting the Led out was still a possibility.
So when one hears the slow, string-driven crescendo give in to a driving, octave-guitar line in "Inside a Boy", the hope that My Brightest Diamond will successfully bridge the worlds of classical music and rock is a strong one. After all, given the fact that Warden is a trained opera singer, MBD's crown jewel is--literally--classically trained to rock our fucking socks off. If she's successful, then that might mean that rock might not be so bogus anymore. Right, KG? Right.
But alas, poor Horatio, Teeth does seek muchies from the rock Salad Bar. Rather, A Thousand's Shark Teeth, is a more dreamy, contemplative affair than its title or first single suggest. Songs like "If I Were Queen" and "To Pluto's Moon" showcase an amazing command of arrangement, instrumentation, and song dynamics. Furthermore, Warden possesses a voice that fly and flutter like the most graceful of birds. How can any of those attributes be viewed in any kind of critical, negative light?
The reason is that, for all of her considerable technical skill and ambition as a musician (sorry for the rhyme), Warden is a little uncreative as a songwriter. The basic fact is this: Radiohead and Bjork got to where Warden wants to be first. She's Bjork without the eccentricities and Radiohead without the paranoia. And both without the electronics. Considering that those traits are essential to each artist's raison d'etre, what does that make My Brightest Diamond?
The answer is hard to give. However, based on tracks like xylophone-driven "Apples" and the Danny-Elfman-as-interpreted-by Radiohead gothic-symphony that is "Black and Costrud", A Thousand Shark's Teeth could have quite the journey down the old musical rabbit-hole. Instead, it offers a few bright spots--check out the transcendent "From the Top of The World"--but is ultimately sunk by its own artistic complacency.
Champaign, Ill. indie-poppers Headlights are playing a double-header tomorrow night in St. Paul. The first show is at old/new all ages spot Eclipse Records (5pm) and the late show is down the street at St. Paul's best music venue the Turf Club (9pm).
Both will be excellent shows -- head over to INDIE TICKETS to reserve your standing room and the band's MySpace Page for more information.
Video: Lil' Wayne on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (6/20/08)
(Lil Wayne - "A Millie", on "Jimmy Kimmel Live")
(Lil' Wayne - "Lollipop", on "Jimmy Kimmel Live")
Wheezy might be a martian. He might be an alien. However, there's no disputing the fact that, regardless of Lil Wayne's origins, he's having a hell of a time being successful on planet Earth. His latest, official studio album, Tha Carter III, a record which some, if not most, are hailing as a masterpiece, was the first album since 2005 to sell 1 million copies in its first week in stores.
Of course, it certainly helps to have smash singles like "Lollipop" to help motivate people to buy your record. It also helps if you promote the shit out of your record as well. Performing two songs from Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne spits some truth while performing the aforementioned "Lollipop", as well as "A Millie". I'm a little bit underwhelmed by these performances, but I'm not sure why. Possibly its A) That this album has been getting a lot of hype, so anything that doesn't meet those standards is inherently disappointing. or B) Most--not all, but most--hip-hop is disappointing live or C) Most songs don't sound as good when reduced to a small video size.
At any rate, the man's got the number one album in the country right now. Watch him do his thing at the top of the post.
This is incredibly sad news. At the age of 71, legendary comedian George Carlin has passed away. He was absolutely someone who I admired and idolized. Read more about the legendary comedian here.
I've attached two videos that I feel are the most relevant rants to today's political landscape. Keep in mind that the video above is from Carlin's special "Jammin' in New York", which was from the early-90s. Frightening that it's so relevant today, no?
One of MFR's favorite groups, Gospel Gossip, recently laid down some sweet jams at the Radio K studios. Of the 5 songs played, three were brand new songs. The tracks, which include "Pre-Med (Just In Case)", "Big Steer" and "Run, Run, Run", all impressively continuing the shoegaze-influenced winning streak that the band has been on. Those shoes they're staring at might be running shoes, because these tracks are propulsive, particularly "Pre-Med".
Bast yourself in the glory of feedback by heading over here.
If you want to get the chance to see these songs performed live, then head on over to Stasiu's tonight. GG, along with Ouija Radio, will be playing a 21+ show.
(Cloud Cult) usually auctions off the paintings that are created during their shows after the show ends, but there was no way to do this at the Carson Daly Show The painting from that show will be auctioned off on ebay starting this Saturday. Just search ebay for Cloud Cult painting and you should find the auction. We'll also have a link posted on Cloud Cult and Cloud Cult MySpace Page. This is the first time the band has done an auction like this. The painting was created by Scott West.
In other Cloud Cult news, the group is set to play the Rock The Garden, along with Andrew Bird, The New Pornographers, and Bon Iver. Tickets to the show, a concert taking place at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, are sold out. The next opportunities for Cloud Cult fans to see their heroes in action will come twofold: first will be at the St. John's Center Block Party; the second will be at Denver's Monolith Festival, which is a music festival devoted to sustainability. Can't imagine why Cloud Cult would be interested in that.
Page France may have gone the way of the Dodo Bird (but not The Dodos), but former member Michael Nau is still going strong with his side-project-turned-main-gig The Cotton Jones Basket Ride. Picking up after Page France, Basket Ride finds Nau experimenting further with psychedelia-influenced songwriting. Listen to "Midnight and the Telescope", from the second of three art-book series (titled The Archery), at the top of the post.
Nu-gazers Film School have announced a summer tour in support of last year's release "Hideout". Dates are below:
July 11 Las Vegas NV Beauty Bar July 12 Salt Lake City UT Kilby Court July 13 Denver CO Larimer Lounge July 14 Omaha NE Slowdown July 15 St Louis MO The Bluebird July 16 Indianpolis IN My Old Kentucky Blog Presents July 17 Buffalo NY Mohawk Place July 19 Coney Island NYC Siren Music Festival July 20 New Haven CT Bar Night Club July 23 Cleveland OH Beachland Ballroom Tavern July 24 Detroit MI Magic Stick July 25 Newport KY Southgate House July 26 Louisville KY The Riverfront Belvedere July 27 Chicago IL Wicker Park Festival July 28 Minneapolis MN 7th Street Entry Aug 01 Seattle WA Sunset Tavern Aug 02 Portland OR Towne Lounge Aug 03 San Francisco CA Cafe Du Nord Aug 06 Los Angeles CA Spaceland
That July 28th date is one day before Doomtree's self-titled debut drops. Looks like the late summer is going to be a hoppin' time for music in Minneapolis.
Listen to two tracks from "Hideout" at the top of the post.
Top Ten Tracks on Elbo.Ws Reviewed in 50 Words or Less: 6/1/08--6/16/08
Bi-Weekly, MFR Reviews the top ten tracks on music blog aggregator Elbo.ws. Here are the songs for the weeks of June 1st through June 16th. Ethereal seems to be the watchword with these batch of songs. That, and Tilly and The Wall.
Ethereal-fest 2008 kicks off with this Beach Boys gone County Fair-esque festival of harmonies and reverb. Familiar? To an extent. Drowning in catch melodies? Unquestionably. Resistance isn't futile, but Fleet Foxes definitely have the upper hand.
The Zepplin-esque stomp of this song might impress me more if an entire generation of early-aughts garage-bands (White Stripes, Black Keys, etc) hadn't gotten to it first. There's an energetic enthusiasm, certainly. But you can only sustain yourself on vibe so much. The breakdown is pretty amusing, though.
Sigur Ros reinvent themselves as Animal Collective while keeping their trademark Icelandic etherealness. The pace is so quick that it sounds like the group is trying to make up time for all those 10-minute soundscapes. The quality of this track is high, so there's no need to hurry; effort's appreciated all the same though.
Speaking of ethereal, Austin-based art-rock quintet Shearwater's second single from its stunning Rook LP is compact, symphonic, and cinematic, driven by strings and glockenspiel. At the very least, Shearwater prove that epic songs don't have to spend epic amounts of time getting their point across.
5. MGMT - Electric Feel (Justice remix)
Removed at the request of management.
It's not quite Thursday, but all this song makes me want to do is dance, dance, dance. "Electric Feel" has plenty of, um, feeling, but for a song that's makes me move, it feels strangely inert.
Time to bust out the thesaurus. "The Old Days" has its share of...celestial harmonies and production techniques, it nonetheless fails to make any more of an impression that your slightly-better-than-average twee song does.
Not sure where the computer part is (at least during the verse), exactly, but the banjo sounds decent enough. The approach is novel, but the techno breakdown feels more like a token gesture than artistic revelation.
"Cacophony" is more in keeping with Tilly's old, folkier material, though its not more successful than "Pot Kettle Black" because of that fact. Rather, it sounds like the band is more in their element and, as a result, don't have to front a pose that they are uncomfortable making.
9. Joan as Police Woman - "To Be Loved"
Removed at the request of management.
Joan as Police Woman's vocals and smooth pop are certainly arresting, but, in order to be loved, this could maybe have taken a few more notes from someone more outre. Like Love.
The second single from At Mount Zoomer is another solidly crafted, engagingly melodic track from a pair of songwriters who, while not topping anything from their debut, still manage to prove that they are no one-trick ponies either.
Live Review: R.E.M., Modest Mouse, and The National, at Chicago's United Center
(R.E.M. with Johnny Marr - "Fall on Me" - Live at the United Center) Via Stereogum
I realize it's a little late to get this review up, but hey, I just moved cross-country.
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of catching R.E.M. with the National and Modest Mouse (and one Mr. Jonathan Graef). And out of the hundreds of shows I've ever seen, it was in my top five.
The National opened up and filled Chicago's United Center with sound just as well as they do in a club, despite a small bit of blurring on the horn parts. When translating their music to a live show, The National scaled up the rock aspects of their sound. In particular, "Squalor Victoria" stands out as adapting well to this more muscular live setting. Punctuated by Matt Berninger's howls of the titular name and flashes bright purple stage lights, the song exulted the band's rock influences. While I'm not generally a huge fan of large amount of stage production, seeing the whole band silhouetted against a steamy, multicolored night was pretty effin' sweet.
Playing mostly from Boxer, an album of A+ material if there ever was one, The National proved a tough act to follow for second openers Modest Mouse.
Let me make one thing clear: I really like Modest Mouse on record. A lot. After hearing rumor after rumor that Isaac Brock's voice has gone the way of the dinosaur, I was pretty nervous to see them perform. But they exceeded the expectations I had for them.
Still, it wasn't a very good set. A lot of the material came off We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, which was a pretty good album. On disc. But live, it just sounded brash, flat and same-y, like they were floundering for depth that wasn't there. Compared to the richness of the National's sound, I just kind of felt bad for Brock & Co.
R.E.M., however, was, as always, fantastic. The thing that never fails to knock me flat when I see R.E.M. live is the way in which they revisit their past: The United Center show was as much a celebration of a lifetime of music as it was a celebration of a particular album.
Those who came to the show having only purchased Accelerate might have been a little disappointed. Eight songs (about 30 minutes) in the 2-hour set were from the new album, and they were thoroughly padded with older material. But what can I say? The material they played sounded stellar. The raw production value on the album gives you a perfect picture of what the songs sound like in concert. When I listened to "Supernatural Superserious" for the first time, I could picture exactly what the song would look and sound like live: Peter Buck hitting every note while jumping around in a way that no 40-something should be able to, Michael Stipe singing breathlessly while wiggling like a jellyfish and Mike Mills off to the side being the best bass player in existence. The new material didn't pull punches on the audience; it just singed them with the purest of pure rock and fucking roll.
Mixed in between songs off of Accelerate was a particularly stark, vulnerable breakdown of "Let Me In." Clustered around a piano, the band stomped and clapped their way through the normally fuzz-laden ode to his late friend, Kurt Cobain. (Stipe wrote the song to say all the things he wished he had said to Cobain before Nirvana frontman took his own life in 1994.) "Find the River," the closing track to essential canon entry Automatic for the People, showed up in a retooled format, sporting guitar in place of its standard accordian, updating it to fit with the band's current exuberant rock sound. Other songs, such as "Begin the Begin" were played exactly as they were written 20 years ago.
On this tour, R.E.M. is all about finding and creating cohesion in their catalog. The songs chosen for Friday night's show expressed political frustration and alienation, but also a great deal of hope (not least of all due to Barack Obama, to whom Stipe gave two enthusiastic shout-outs). As someone who has been disillusioned with the band's past few albums, but started to feel hopeful again with Accelerate, the United Center show was confirmation that a new, awesome, powerful chapter in R.E.M. history is beginning.
Even though the Swedes do pop like few other nationalities, 2008 has been a particularly good year for the Scandinavianally-inclined. We've seen the releases of solo debuts by Peter, Bjorn and John member Peter Morén; the second album from El Perro Del Mar; An EP by like-minded (in terms of singing style, if not musically) songstress Lykke Li, with an album to come later this year; and, lastly, but certainly not leasty, Sally Shapiro, who, on Tuesday, released the second volume of her remixes, the title of which is Remix Romance Vol 2. I know, real big Shyamalan twist there, right?
The release marks the debut of the digital label of Paper Bag Records. Read more about the label's newfound digital path here. As far as songs from the record are concerned, up at the top, you can find the remix of Shapiro's tune "Time To Let Go" by Montreal-based CFCF. As far as the sound of the song is concerned, the track splits the difference between The Tom-Tom Club and "Axel F"; CFCF co-opt the grooves of the former, while adding synth-lines similar to the latter.
Conor Oberst's new Merge-released record, Conor Oberst, will be out on August 4th and now begins the process of leaking a few tracks to wet our blogger whistles. Two new CB tracks are available for streaming on Oberst's site (HERE) and they are both great. Here is a live version of one of the available tracks, "Danny Callahan," recorded live from his performance at our very own 400 Bar on the West Bank last December.
Also on his site are the circumstances of the recording, which are pretty interesting:
"This recording was made in Tepoztlán, Morelos, México during January and February of 2008. A temporary studio was created in a mountain villa — known for Aztec Magic and Extra-Terrestrial Sightings — called Valle Místico. The album was produced by Conor Oberst with much help from engineer and long time associate Andy LeMaster.
A special band was assembled for the recording, known amongst themselves and to friends as The Mystic Valley Band."
Not to be confused with Kidz In The Hall's "Drivin' Down The Block", "Straight Up The Block" is the new jam from Wu-Tang Clan's mastermind the RZA. The track is taken from his upcoming record Digi Snax, which is due for release on the 24th of July. In order to promote said release, Culture Bully and First Avenue are giving away a pair of tickets to the June 30th show that RZA and Stone Mecca are playing. Here are the details:
The contest (is) open to US residents only (sorry international friends!) - to enter simply leave a note in the comments section - maybe about how you’re cleaning your life up, or maybe about how you’re letting the randomness take over (don’t forget to enter your email address, which won’t be shown publicly, it’s so we can get in touch with you!). THREE winners will be chosen at random & the contest ends Thursday, June 26, 2008 so…if you see this post on Friday, June 27, 2008 and would like to enter…my friend, you are too late.
Leave a comment here. As stated, the contest ends on Thursday, June 26th, so get on it!
Kanye West Handles Himself Well Addressing Minneapolis Heckler. Bonaroo Fans, However, Are An Entirely Different Story.
Kanye West is many things: talented, entertaining, gifted, etc. But I think that even his defenders have to admit that patience is not one of the brother's virtues. So it's incredibly surprising that, at the Minneapolis stop of ye's "Glow In The Dark" tour, when a heckler threw an object of some kind at the Chicago-based superstar, he reacted in a calm, collected fashion. Watch the video at the top of the post.
But whatever personal breakthrough West achieved that night was utterly lost by the time Kanye took the stage at the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee. As you undoubtedly know already, here's what happened:
According to the BBC the singer was an hour-and-a-half late for his performance, promoting fans to chant "Kanye sucks" and throw items, including glow sticks at the empty stage.
Festival spokesman Ken Weins said the delay was caused by having to take apart Pearl Jam's set and loading up Kanye West's equipment.
West had been due to perform in the early hours of Sunday morning but the extended delay resulted in many campers returning to their tents.
Musically, Kanye does suck...through the straw of perfection. However, in terms of dealing with setbacks...well, you know. West has yet to address the subject on his blog. Once he does, though, we'll let you know what he said.
In more positive West news, the rapper was recently added as a panelist to the Midwest Music Summit, a gathering devoted to the advancement of Midwestern Urban music. Read more here.
MPLS-based multi-instrumentalist Dosh released his fourth full-length long-player, Wolves and Wishes. Wolves, like its predecessors, does a fantastic job demonstrating what Dosh is all about: minimalist electronic symphonies which, using loops of different instruments like guitar, violin, saxophone, keyboards and drums, build slowly, but surely, to a rousing conclusion. Inquiring minds would probably like to know how Dosh goes about making his records, so the people over at the Onion A.V. Club, the like-minded entertainment section of satirical newspaper The Onion, sought the answers to that question, and more. Here's an excerpt of the interview:
AVC: Wolves And Wishes and The Lost Take brought in a lot of guest musicians, including Bird and Bonnie "Prince" Billy.
Martin Dosh: I want to expand. I'm unable to play instruments like violin and guitar—I play a little bit of guitar, not enough to come up with cool ideas, I think. I just want to have other textures in the music—I don't want it to just be all keyboards, xylophones, and drums. It can be really cool that way, but right now I want to hear those other textures. The violin is awesome, and obviously there are other avenues I could explore by sampling other things. There's so much I like about sampling other people that are reacting to my music. So I have my basic track [with] drums, melody, keyboards, and Jeremy comes over and says, "What should I play?" I'm just, "Eh, try a couple things." And we'll do a few passes through, improv-style, and listen back, find the good stuff, chop it up, move it around.
From there, the interview, conducted by Christopher Bahn, goes on to discuss the effect that touring has on Dosh's creative process, working with frequent collaborator Andrew Bird, and whether or not Dosh worries that a song will be too complex to play live.
In the meantime, check out two videos of Dosh playing live. There's "Capture The Flag", which was captured at Dosh's home, and "Um, Circles and Squares", the video of which was shot by a fan at Dosh's show in Omaha on June 6th. The last is of Dosh playing "Subtractions, Part One" at the Walker Art Center last month in Minneapolis, as part of his "World of Dosh" shows.
(Dosh, "Capture The Flag", live at home) Via Anticon
(Dosh, "Um, Circles and Squares", Live in Omaha) YouTube Link
(Dosh, "Subtractions, Part One", Live at the Walker Art Center) YouTube Link
Being the huge shoegazer freak that I am, the My Bloody Valentine reunion is a prospect for which I've been frothing at the mouth for quite some time. As the band slowly began their warm-up gigs for their first tour in 16 years, I was naturally interested in finding clips of the band at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, located in London. What I've found are three clips of the band performing "Only Shallow"--the first song the group has performed together live in 16 years. It's more than an apt choice, seeing how "Only Shallow" is the opening song of their magnum opus, the monumentally influential Loveless. The first clip at the top is of the best quality, in terms of audio and video together. The one below it has best video quality, but is the worst in terms of sound; the last is adequate on both fronts. Watch all three at the top of the post.
Check out the set-list and more details over at Stereogum.
Doomtree Announces New Album...And This Time, We're Absolutely Sure of It
It's kind of amazing what you miss when you take a few days off from music blogging. For starters, the local news that hip-hop collective Doomtree will, in fact, be releasing their self-titled debut record on July 29th of this year, as previously announce, albeit in highly cryptic fashion. The 21-track album will be the first record released by the entire collective, after several False Hopes records by Doomtree members, including poet/emcee Dessa, as well as solo albums by the likes of P.O.S., who has put out two albums via Rhymesayers. The band will be celebrating Doomtree in August, with a record release party at First Avenue. The 18+ show will set you back $8, and will start at 8 p.m. Opening will be Kill The Vultures and I Self Devine.
1. Close Your Ears (intro) 2. Drumsticks 3. Gander Back 4. The Wren 5. Gameshow Host 6. Dots & Dashes 7. Game Over 8. Real Class (interlude) 9. Last Call 10. Accident 11. Sadie Hawkins 12. The Walrus (interlude) 13. Twentyfourseven 14. Let Me Tell You, Baby 15. Down the Line 16. Kid Gloves 17. Pop Gun War 18. Reintroduction 19. Liver Let Die 20. I’m Talking 21. Jaded
In what should be excellent news for fans, given the group's reputation for award-winning live shows, is that Doomtree will be playing Doomtree. Check out the group's MySpace Page for the deets.
The seems-to-always-get-bigger Headlights just had a great Daytrotter session, check it out HERE. Furthermore, Headlights will be playing an all ages show at Eclipse Records and and ID show at the Turf Club on June 24 - check them out.