Friday, March 31, 2006

kraut rock ----> haggis rock?

to some it may seem unusual for a band like Mogwai to come out of a town, Glasgow, often noted for the depth of it pop artists. even beneath their noise, scene grandfathers the Jesus and Mary Chain and primal Scream were heavily and openly influenced by pop music. if you dig a little deeper though, say ten years back, you'll find a band that seemingly sets a precedent to the post rock tinkering of one of Scotlands bigger musical imports. a lot of people expected the Telstar Ponies to be just another pop band. after all, they featured the ex-drummer of Teenage Fanclub, Brendan O'Hare, and it's founder was in another popular, Big Star striving band called 18 Wheeler. the group in fact began with some poppier singles before evolving towards the realms of twelve minute, epic, noise-riddled compositions. this track is from the 1996 ep Mor Factum Musica, which preceded their album Voices from the New Music, serves as a nice bridge between the early hybrid of guitar-heavy psych-rock and kraut rock and the impending free jazz and japanese noise rock emulations on the full length. astute Mogwai fans may know where this comes full circle as O'Hare would depart the band and become Mogwai's second drummer, appearing on their debut studio album before taking leave from them as well. a majority of the Telstar Ponies are now playing in the group the Porch Song Anthology and insist the Ponies, who haven't released anything since the '99 single "Farewell, Farewell" are simply on a long-term sabbatical.

Telstar Ponies "Innerhalb Weniger Minuten"

Thursday, March 30, 2006

old good things

in the past few years there's been a lot of great bands coming out of the northwest and i remain surprised that i have yet to see one surface that involves any former members of New Bad Things. during the nineties, this portland-based band seemed as if they alone were the northwest indierock scene. the group of friends hastily put together a band to open for a Sebedoh show and would go on to release two proper albums and a collection on outtakes and rare tracks before disappearing. in college, i used their song "I Hate Everyone" for the intro of my radio show, being quite the fan of their sometimes muddled, but always upbeat pop. a co-worker put up a sign in my cubicle that says "ennui is boring" and it always makes me think of New Bad Things' album "Ennui Go." the group was frequently compared to (and maybe overshadowed by) Pavement and i think you'll hear why on this track from their C-Sides compilation.

New Bad Things "Josh Has A Crush on A Femme from Reed"

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

lunch break

so i'm sitting here eating my lunch, reading the internet and buying new ringtones. a few important things to note:

-Ween and the Flaming Lips are co-headlining a show at Red Rocks this summer. the Go Team are opening. it's no John Tesh, but i'll be there.

-Dr. Katz finally out on dvd in May. how am i just learning this now ?!?!

-who's idea was it to make a ringtone of Grandaddy's a.m. 180? i need to send you a thank you card.

kings of the underground

just a few weeks removed from seeing Dinosaur Jr., the music scene in southern new england during my youth has been on my mind a bit. the strength of bands coming out of boston and the surrounding area played a huge factor in nuturing my love of music growing up. today i thought i'd revisit one of the forgotten bands from back then. Cold Water Flat had a rather short existence. the band, formed by Paul Janowitz, younger brother of Bill, the frontman of the then locally popular Buffalo Tom, was close to disbanding the group after one album when they were signed to a major label amidst the explosion of alternative music in the nineties. in fact, it was the newly formed Fort Apache imprint created by MCA, Fort Apache Studios being the epicenter of Boston's music scene in the ninties, recording popular local artists and emerging national alternative acts. the subsequeent '95 self-titled release would turn out to be their last when it failed to catch on, but in my eyes remains an underlooked gem from a time were southern new england was abuzz with the success of bands ranging from Dinosaur Jr. and the Lemonheads to bands like Morphine, Belly and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. it contains the familiar punch of grunge emulating pop that recalls the heyday of 120 Minutes and the formation of countless modern rock radio stations, making it good pickings for the eventual nostalgia for all things ninties.

Cold Water Flat "King of the Underground"

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

i have eight bosses

the increasing demands of my job are slowly causing my posting abilities to implode. i will be posting much later in the day until things slow down (i.e. when i find a new job). i haven't read any blogs in three weeks and feel completely out of the loop. feel free to use the comments section to let me know about bands from the last month that i should check out.

Monday, March 27, 2006

out of control

thought i'd start the week off with a look at one of A4D's favorite albums from the past. it was never clear to me if White Hassle were a side-project or just an iteration of the ny-based band Railroad Jerk. a year following the release of the final RJ record, members marcellus hall and dave verenka released the album National Chain. that debut/evolution eliminated the punk elements of the noisey country rock and rural blues equation found on the RJ records and simplified things, parring down to a guitar and some pots and pans providing the percussion alongside hall's great vocal deliveries. later that year i saw the band at irving plaza, where during a matador records showcase, the two opted to create their own second stage and play to a bewildered and excited crowd gathering on the staircase. the group gained some notoriety years later when Modest Mouse's issac brock mentioned in a rolling stone interview that he had tattooed the title of the White Hassle song "life is still sweet" on his arm. White Hassle's line-up has since grown and they are still going at it, albeit quietly overseas. they released an album in france last year and toured europe earlier this year. National Chain meanwhile still gets a lot of plays at my apartment and is worth investigating for anyone else interested in rural folk sounds meshed with city wit.

White Hassle "Out of Control"

Sports Betting

So- don't ever ask me for betting advice. I'm hoping one of us fares much better in the All-Blogger Baseball League. More on that next week.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Minus 5 Ticket

Hey- I have a ticket to see Minus 5 and Richard Buckner Sunday night at Southpaw in BROOKLYN. I can't attend so I'm giving the ticket away to someone who can pick it up. Email me at

Friday, March 24, 2006

TOP 5: For Those About To Rock

I can't ever say that I've ever been much of a metalhead but I have certainly enjoyed the company of many going back to high school. And while I've been able to recommend all sort of music to all sorts of folks, I've always been deficient finding something to make those old rockdawgs happy. And so about a month ago I set out to right this wrong. Here are five recommendations for those about to rock:

1. The Sword "Winter's Wolves" [Their album Age of Winters is awesome. Just absolutely relentless. Buy it.]

2. Wolfmother "Where Eagles Have Been" [Australian band brings psychedelic metal to the forefront.]

3. High on Fire "To Cross The Bridge" [Steve Albini produced metalfest with a sound that is thoroughly heavy and thick]

4. Mastodon "Seabeast" [Complex thrashers are considered by many to be the present and future pinnacle of metal.]

5. Tarantula AD "Who Took Berlin" [More prog-rock than metal with definate classical influences.]

Thursday, March 23, 2006

love is real

very quietly Edith Frost released another great album late last year entitled It's A Game. like american idol judges on the sidelines, critics have let each album slip by wondering when Frost would take it to the next level. however, it's the Joni Mitchell beckoning of folk pop marked by lyrics of love, hard luck and weather-beaten optimism that's been the core of each album and what she does well and i'm not sure there is cause for that to evolve drastically. in fact, her only straying album, the electrified Telescopic, is probably the one i listen to least. for today's tune i'm breaking out one of my favorite songs, the single "Love is Real," released in 1999. Frost will be in denver early next week, with thrill jockey rosterees the Zincs and locals Porlolo opening.

Edith Frost "Love is Real"

Monday Monday, March 27, 2006 @ the Hi Dive w/ the Zincs and Porlolo

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

skinny boys

i have a work meeting this morning so i need to be brief:

my brother, being in tune with my tastes, directed me towards todays track knowing i'd be excited to bring it to you. i am a huge Stars fan and the band's co-vocalist Amy Millan will be releasing a solo album, Honey From The Tombs, in may on the Arts & Craft label.

Amy Millan "Skinny Boy"

meanwhile, on the local concert front, We Are Scientists will be coming to the hi-dive in denver this weekend. we've covered the band here on A4D and are pretty excited for the show. i've been listening to With Love and Squalor again and it really reminds me of Hot Hot Heat, but with less chic and more charm.

We Are Scientists Saturday, March 25 Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
w/ the Grates

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

new drug queens

i think i hold the blogger record for incorrectly linking my mp3s. and i always thought it would be my spelling errors that helped me stand out. anyway, first off....i could use someone local's (denver area) help. if you're reading this and you or a generous friend have a home studio of some sort, i am looking to rather quickly record some audio bits. you see kgnu is hiring a new music director and i need to submit an audio cd of my talking along with my resume. i loved my days as music director in boulder for kvcu in it's first years, probably because it was the perfect job for me. that would make this the most exciting job opening i've encountered in some time. the question is, if i actually landed the md job there, would it be like a former red sox player defecting to the yankees?

now on to the music. we're keeping it locally themed for the next few days. there are plenty of great shows coming up this weekend and i plan on going to and writing about all of them. looking to friday, Pink Mountaintops are playing at the hi-dive. after some blog recommendations, i caught Black Mountain at the very same venue last year and they simply blew me away. PM is the side-project of BM frontman Stephen McBean. he just released his second album, entitled Axis of Evol, on Jagjauwar. where BM is weighty psych-sludge, PM is a bit more lo-fi and straight-forward indierock. while reviews of the first s/t album compared McBean to the self-afflicted genius of the Velvet Underground, this album moreso reminded me of the first time i picked up a Smog album on cassette when the tunes were raw, but very obviously the bared observations of an individual with a view of the world all their own.

Pink Mountaintops "New Drug Queens"

Friday March 24 Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
w/ Two Gallants (this SF duo is worth showing up early for as they redefine lo-fi as epic and creative)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

bombs under britain

had i gone to sxsw, this might have ended up like my last one...with me being stranded at the airport due to a snowstorm here in denver. alas, i had stayed home and my only entertainment was seeing V for Vendetta on the imax. sadly, no free booze at that event. i was a bit cautious as first, i was quite a comic book geek some time ago and so i knew i'd be judgemental. secondly, the last time alan moore disowned a movie based on one of his comics (league of extraordinary gentleman) it was one of the worst movies i'd ever seen. lo and behold i ended up walking away quite pleased with the movie. of course the movie involved natalie portman and things blowing up and i am a guy.

i had been curious about what would be on the soundtrack; something that always seems to be on my mind following that moment in the 90s where the soundtrack became as relevant and in some cases even outsold their celluloid counterparts. V only had four proper tunes, but they were interesting ones even if their were not all the most logical choices. was the inclusion of "Bird Gerhl" by Antony & The Johnsons due to his popularity in the uk or as many like to joke, have more in common with the personal life of one of the wachowskis? then if her commercial jingle debut wasn't enough, Cat Power's version of VU's "I Found A Reason" from her Covers Record shows up briefly (though strangely not as long as it's featured in the television trailor for the movie). they toss in Julie London's "Cry Me A River" to suit the portrayal of antiquities in the films and then finally the films credits are finally met with seems like the most appropriate of tunes, the Rolling Stone's "Street Fighting Man." the majority of the crowd didn't get up until after the song finished, which always impresses me. i am, however, floored that Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, which is so central to the film, didn't end up on the soundtrack release. (history lesson: the work commemorates the russian beat-down of napolean upon an attempted french invasion). coincidently it was also paired with explosions to great effect for....Caddyshack. maybe there's a gopher behind that guy fawkes mask.

now for today's track. a 2002 reissue of the Ramone's Too Tough To Die included a cover of the aftermentioned Stones' song.

the Ramones "Street Fighting Man"
(fixed link)

Friday, March 17, 2006


Green by Ken Nordine from the most brilliant album Colors.

machine green

well happy st. patty's day. i think i've found that works somewhat. the Super Friendz where from halifax, nova scotia, canada when it was at a peak for local music with bands like Sloan, Eric's Trip and Thrush Hermit sharing stages. their infectious powerpop finally made it's way to the u.s. when a compilation was released here in 1997. unfortunately the group disbanded that year. the trio consisting of matt murphy, charles austin, and drew yamada would each write and sing their own songs and so it wasn't too much of a surprise when they were all ready to pursue something all theirs. one of the more notable post-Super Friendz contributions would be murphy's involvement in the early Neko Case records, posing as one of her backing band Boyfriends. their song "Machine Green" was always one of my favorite pop tunes, recounting three great Greens of the past.

the Super Friendz "Machine Green"

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Well, last night I trekked over to Southpaw to check out two bands previewing material from forthcoming albums. One of them was quite good, the other not so. The Good- the Essex Green. The Bad- Isobel Campbell. The Ugly, by-the-way, is the sound at Southpaw these days. It used to be so excellent but the last three shows I've seen there opened with either some sound mishap, the monitor levels sucking for the band or, in he case of last night, everything coming out a bit to bassy.

We actually previewed the new record from the Essex Green, entitled Cannibal Sea, back in February. The set last night consisted mostly of the new material and it was delicious power pop from sea to shiny sea. The album drops next Tuesday.

Isobell was not my cup of tea. While I enjoyed some of the tracks she recorded with Screaming Tree Mark Lanegan for her new album, I found tonight to be an absolute snorefest. (Lanegan is not actually touring and has been replaced by Eugene Kelley, formerly of The Vaselines, for the duetting material.) Of course maybe it was just me, as she played to a rapt sold-out crowd. Personally, I felt you could barely even hear her under the snare drum and accoustic guitars- that's pretty damn quiet!

8:02 PM

so i was at the bar last night and the dj was playing tons of 90s alt rock. then i was quite surprised to hear For Squirrels. it turned out one of the regular patrons was from jacksonville, fl and turned him onto what was once one of her favorite local bands. what makes it so surprising is that the band carries a tragic story that lead to only one album and a brief history. the florida foursome were signed by sony following a popular ep and recorded Example. one month before it's release the group was returning from a gig in new york and their van overturned, killing two members of the band and their manager. what remained was an incredibly promising major label debut that would understandably never see a proper follow-up. the remaining members formed the band Subrosa, which was far more edgier sounding than the REM-cloning pop that was For Squirrels.

For Squirrels "8:02 PM"

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

the hot iqs, texas style

lot's of exciting things going on for my favorite denver local band, the Hot IQs. they just had a video premiere, they're recording the follow-up to their debut album, they were recently featured on itunes and they're playing a bunch of shows at this year's sxsw. these guys grew up loving the same indierock bands as me and thus it's a no brainer that the product of those influences would be something great. they were kind enough to forward the details of their busy trip to austin:

03/15/2006 Darwin's Pub l Tinderbox/Hyperactive Magazine
223 E. Sixth, Austin, TX 73301,US - SXSW
Hot IQs at 8:00
03/16/2006 Habana All Ages Mile Fidelity II
709 e 6th st, Austin, TX 73301,US - SXSW Day Party
Mile High Fidelity II Habana Calle 6 709 e 6th
Hot IQs at 1:30
03/17/2006 12:00 PM - spinART Records / Rough Trade Records Day Party The Peacock
515 Pedernales St, Austin, TX 73301,US - SXSW Austin
Friday, March 17th 1-7pm Free beer! The Peacock 515 Pedernales St
Hot IQs at 6:30
03/18/2006 gallery lombardi
910 west third, Austin, TX 73301,US - sxsw day party
Hot IQs at 6:00

as far as the mp3 for the day...way back when the Hot IQs began as a band called the Royal We. there was an ep floating around. this is an early recording of the song which would end up on their debut album, An Argument Between the Brain & Feet, and inspire a name change.

the Hot IQs "Hot IQs"

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


there was a point where i was collecting Shag prints and other tiki art, drinking fruity drinks, collecting stylish stag mags and Ursula 1000's "Hip Length" was the best soundtrack in the world. i wasn't alone either because that was one of the most frequently requested songs when i was working at the radio station in boulder. flash forward four albums later and Alex Gimeno, the dj and multi-instrumentalist behind Ursula 1000, has seen his niche expand from sample-heavy bachelor pad music to include a collage of everything from electro-funk to psych-heavy glam rock to jazz-mamba hybrids and some caribbean-influenced tunes. still, as you can gather from today's track, it's the faux-retro jet set songs suited for twirling drink umbrellas that win me over. Here Comes Tommorrow, originally slated for release late last year, is now finally due out this month on ESL, the label run out of dc by the Thievery Corp. folks. the record features a number of guests including Los Amigos Invisibles, Cristina, and Gentle People. he's in austin for sxsw on thursday and a worldwide tour follows. you can click through the link for more details.

Ursula 1000 "Kaboom"

Monday, March 13, 2006

a place for everything

i've long fallen into the trap of seeing less than half the shows i used to go to, usually reserving my concert time only for bands i know i absolutely adore. this weekend i had a bit of an epiphany as i realized that throughout that time i've denied myself the joy that is showing up at a venue where you're not all too familiar with the bands and are pleasently surprised by one if not all of them. friday night i had no plans and so i took up a friends offer to visit her shop, Chielle, for a fairly small, intimate show with a trio of bands. i walked away with that long lost feeling of coming away unexpectedly, joyfully entertained.

between sets from the always entertaining local Bad Weather California and the duo Susarrus Station was Amy Annelle, who has performed solo as well as under the name the Places. a lot of people saw Amy last year when she opened up a few dates for Colin Meloy of the Decemberists and Laura Veirs. an odd matching as she's not as whimsical as those two, but being as she'd been living in portland for some time it wasn't too surprising. she's recorded albums for Hush and Absolutely Kosher Records and shown up in numerous places including on albums from Okkervil River and Swords Project. in fact it's pretty amazing how under the radar Annelle has been given the number of projects she has appeared on, though it has been five years since the release of her own solo album. her solo music, while minimal (i.e. mostly her and acoustic guitar), is given depth by her often unsettling vocals and deliberate lyrics. as is to be expected it's very much more personal than the more immediately accessible pop of the Places.

i have a pair of tunes from her for you today. and remember, the moral of the story...drag yourself out to more shows for which you have no expectations.

Amy Annelle "A Place for Everything"
the Places "Ode to the Exhausted"

Saturday, March 11, 2006

One More SXSW Note/Dickinson AND Dulli!!!

Hey all. i just got back from the Rob Dickinson show at Southpaw here in Brooklyn which was bloody brilliant. It was a wonderful mix of songs from Rob's excellent solo album Fresh Wine for the Horses, which we covered in our end of the year wrap-up last December, as well as some Catherine Wheel favorites. Those classics included some Happy Days-centric goodness ("Heal", "Little Muscle", and a personal fave of mine, "Eat My Dust You Insensitive Fuck") as well as "Crank", "Delicious", "All of That" and, closing the show out, "Black Metallic." It was really more than everyone could have asked for. I even heard my favorite solo cut- "Oceans." Do go out and get that album if you haven't already. After the show the very friendly Mr. Dickinson stuck around for at least an hour taking pictures and signing CDs. He was wonderfully appreciative of the fans.

Down in Austin next week Rob will be on stage at 9:30 pm, just before the The Twilight Singers, Thursday, March 16th at 9:30 p.m. at Friends (208 E 6th St). He will also be doing a meet-and-greet/signing the same day at the Borders/SXSW Book Store at 3:30 pm (in the Music Trade Show on the Upper Level of the Austin Convention Center).

P.S. Yes, seeing one of my high-school favorites did make me feel old...and I don't care!

Rob Dickinson's "My Name Is Love" is available on the SXSW band site HERE.

Friday, March 10, 2006

original sinner

well i hope the weeks worth of previewing next weeks sxsw lineup helps a few of you out with your planning. today we're turning back to my neck of the woods. co-founder of la punk legends X, Exene Cervenka, will be in denver this saturday at the Hi Dive with her backing band, the Original Sinners and in support of a new album entitled SEV7EN. as a side note, the Sinners are in fact members of the band 7 Shot Screamers, who are opening and mark a change in the line-up since the Sinners debut in 2002. Exene has partaken in several side-projects, but this one retained the interest of most X fans because it strayed the least from that bands signature sound. the new album may catch a few of those people off guard. Exene has penned the familar punk laden, sad love songs with collaborator Jason Edge, but the new Sinners line-up brings a pedigree that seemlessly meshes everything from psychobilly to glam with their own band. as a final note, it's worth mentioning that in a recent interview Exene hinted that she's working on new material with John Doe, which may or may not lead to the first proper X album in over a decade..??

Exene Cervenka & The Original Sinners "It Ain't Supposed to Be"

Thursday, March 09, 2006

High Maintenance

Like a good friend telling you that your zipper is down, someone was nice enough to tell us our RSS feed was busted up. So i fixed it. Syndicate away.

sat. march 18, 2006

come saturday you've probably seen no less than fifteen bands and that's even if you haven't been boozing it up at free parties throughout the day. thankfully saturday starts with a whimper, allowing you a moment to catch your breath. the big to-do this night would probably be the merge showcase that sees both Superchunk and Robert Pollard taking the stage. let's see what else is worth checking out that night.

8:00 pm
Mascott @ the 18th Floor at Capitol Place former contributor to Stars does sophisticated pop

9:00 pm
Jose Gonzales @ Eternal second chance to see the popular swede

10:00 pm
the Essex Green @ Antones rollicking retro pop and a new album
Susanna Huff and Matthew Sweet @ the Drink so basically half the austin powers band
Pink Mountaintops @ Emo's Annex the other side of the Black Mountain
Aberfeldy @ Karma Lounge due for a follow-up to their amazing debut
Jason Collett @ Momo's broken social guitarist whose solo stuff i prefer
Jon Langford @ Opal Devine's Freehouse

11:00 pm
Superchunk @ Antones i guess the hiatus is over
I Love You but I've Choosen Darkness @ Emo's Annex one of the best locals at sxsw
Martha Wainwright @ Eternal the best of the family wainwright may be the least obvious
Tullycraft @ Habana Calle 6 Patio so like as they get older, does the twee pop get less cute?
the Gerbils @ the Hideout drink alot and pretend it's a NMH reunion
Super XX Man @ Molotov Lounge scott has his tenth album due out this year. the locals still miss Silver Scooter

12:00 am
Camera Obscura @ Antones this would be number one on my want to see list
Okkervil River @ Emo's Annex go to Okkervil at Emo' local wannabe as you can get
Lady Sovereign @ La Zona Rosa your official hip hop cred for the week
the Juan Maclean @ the Parish an excellent choice to move the rest of the night away

1:00 am
Magnolia Electric Company @ Emo's Annex if it was still Songs:Ohia it might me too late in the night for the previously quiet Molina
We Are Scientists @ Fox and Hound we are Hot Hot Heat
Elf Power @ the Hideout warcraft has made me hate elves, but these ones at least make music

Supper XX Man "Usual Way"
the Essex Green "Don't Know Why (You Stay)"
the Gerbils "Crayon Box"
Magnolia Electric Company "Hammer Down (live at the Larimer in Denver)"

a man, a van, a band, a beard

The polls have spoken and the overwhelming choice for a pre-SXSW spotlight is Brooklyn's Say Hi To Your Mom, a band with its own Wikipedia entry. Seriously. It's a small entry but you will learn more there perhaps in three sentences than if you were to read the curious bio on the "bands" website. Say Hi to Your Mom, sometime abbreviated by fans and lazy bloggers to SHTYM, is the work of one Eric Elbogen. Over the course of three full album releases the twentysomething Mr. Elbogen has displayed a penchant for brilliantly cheeky songs with adorable song titles ("Let's Talk About Spaceships," "As Smart As Geek Is Chic Right Now," and "But She Beat My High Score"). One song, "Pop Music of the Future," might most acurately describe the synth-pop sound of the band. The songs themselves tell stories that sometimes seem ripe for the subject of youth-oriented programming like Pinwheel, Today's Special and The Electric Company, but in fact come across as clever declarations of geek angst written from the perspective of someone who probably quite enjoyed those shows.

I've seen a lot of writers compare SHTYM to Morrissey and Bright Eyes and while that's not entirely without merit, I'd tend to describe Eric as a more cool Conor Oberst- you know, like with an actual sense of humor...even if it means occasional dead baby jokes. It's also been frequently noted that Eric is an adept bedroom-recording artist. He must sleep on a console in a decent studio though because all his work sounds beautifully produced. I have a sneaking suspicion that Elbogen is a true pro at his craft and ready for some big time attention. This is after-all a musician who declared on the band's website that his followup to 2005's Ferocious Mopes, already in the can, could be available to a label with "good bands on your roster and good distribution" and who can get the band's music "on The OC and in Volkswagon commercials." And I hope it happens.

Say Hi To Your Mom will perform Wednesday, March 15 at Habana Calle 6 Patio (709 E 6th St). Start time is 8:30 p.m. Their fourth indie rock record will also be out this summer.

You can stream and download a few tracks here....but you really should buy them.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

fri. march march 17, 2006

lots of tough decisions to be made on the third night of sxsw. this seems to be the night that a lot of the heavy hitters come out. let us give them a looksy:

8:00 pm
Brakes @ Blendar Bar at the Ritz here's the answer to why Electric Soft Parade is at sxsw
the Mendoza Line @ Maggie Mae's i think i've seen the ML at maggie mae's
the Brunettes @ Red Eyed Fly opened for the Shins last year
the Last Town Chorus @ the Velvet Spade quite pleasent new yorkers

9:00 pm
Diamond Nights @ Buffalo Billiards how are these guys not even indie-huge yet?
Great Lake Swimmers @ Maggie Mae's Misra showcase hits its stride
Billy Bragg @ Cedar Street Courtyard plays sxsw every year...a good thing
Isobel Campell @ Dirty Dog Bar will it be interesting w/out Lanegan
Head of Femur @ Habana Calle 6 outsider pop

10:00 pm
Eric Bachman @ the 18h Floor at Capitol Place curiously not playing as Crooked Fingers?
A Hawk and a Hacksaw @ Blender Balcony at the Ritz vintage sounds from NMH's Barnes
the Boy Least Likely To @ Elysium practically A4D's mascott band
Marissa Nadler @ Emo's IV a lot sounds like this right nwo, but she's still good
Sukpatch @ Latitude 30 long overdue for their own A4D entry...soon
Ariel Pink @ Fox and Hound folk freakout attempts to outfreak headliners Animal Collective
the Subways @ Stubbs sometimes i like their album
Genders @ the Velvet Spade Patio dubby tigerbeat detroit oddballs

11:00 pm
Editors @ Blender Bar at the Ritz better than Interpol...significantly better
Dungen @ Buffalo Billiards the new Bardo Pond?
Asobi Seksu @ Elysium one of my fave albums for over a year
Metric @ Stubbs i'll see them a week later

12:00 am
Tim O'Reagan @ the 18h Floor at Capitol Place former Jayhawks gone solo
the Spinto Band @ Friends darkhorse 2005 album of the year for many
Shearwater @ Maggie Mae's Okkervil side-project that's just as engaging
the Most Serene Republic @ Spiros mostly known for their Stars remix

1:00 am
Neko Case @ Antone's ...Neko Case
Love is All @ Elysium would be tops on my who to see list
Antietam @ Club de Ville left me speechless when i saw they were playing. very quietly could be one of the best sets
Bad Wizard @ Flamingo Cantina my vote for best rock band few know about
Tapes n' Tapes @ Latitude 30 blog darlings
Electric Soft Parade @ Nuno's Upstairs american-sounding brit pop. no, not like Bush
Caroline @ Whiskey Bar current A4d crush

Neko Case "Hold On, Hold On"
Asobi Seksu "Sooner"
the Subways "Staring at the Sun (TV on the Radio cover)"
Sukpatch "Stuck On Me"
Caroline "Where's My Love"

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

thurs. march 16, 2006

8:00 pm
Metal Hearts @ Emo's Jr. we covered these bedroom pop minimalists two weeks ago
Guillemots @ Eternal i downloaded this off someones blog and liked it
Margot & the Nuclear So & So's @ Nuno's Upstairs underground chamber pop
John Vanderslice @ the Parish my last sxsw i quipped on how he looked like Tin Tin

9:00 pm
there are no good shows at this time. there is however an excellent place that serves mexican seafood dishes somewhere on sixth.

10:00 pm
Immaculate Machine @ Nuno's Upstairs kathryn from New Pornographers
DeVotchKa @ the Velvet Spade Patio denver band i first saw at sxsw, not denver

11:00 pm
the Tyde @ Buffalo Billiards retrofied california
Crystal Skulls @ Emo's Jr. previewing new record
the Twilight Singers @ Friends greg dulli show = great show to meet girls
Peels @ Latitude 30 Voxtrot recommended them.
Rocky Votolato @ the Parish II one of the best albums so far in 06
Fatal Flying Guilloteens @ Soho Lounge celebrating ten years of frantic punk
Man Man @ the Velvet Spade another band A4D has gushed about
Nobody & the Mystic Chords of Memory @ Zero Degrees ex-Aisler's Set and Beachwood Sparks

12:00 am
Goldfrapp @ Austin Music Hall is the new album ever coming out here?
Islands @ Emo's IV see Josh's post
Brazilian Girls @ Fox and the Hound snuck on a lot of top 10s last year
Kris Kristofferson @ La Zona Rosa you wouldn't admit this is the best set you saw
the Hidden Cameras @ Molotov Lounge i hear they're doing dance improv now?
Stars of Track and Field @ Redrum don't live up to the name persay, but promising new northwest band

1:00 am
the Minus 5 @ Continental Club they confirmed the M5 line-up, so no surprises...right?
Eagles of Death Metal @ Exodus i hate Queens, love this band
the Capes @ Dirty Dog Bar supposed art rock is the new brit top 40
Black Lipstick @ Latitude 360 most memorable sxsw show: the 1-4-5's last show ever. here's their evolution
Damien Jurado @ Redrum close out the night in a somber mood
Thunderbirds Are Now! @ Soho Lounge or end it drunk and sweaty

this night is disappointing on several levels. it's the night of the Bloodshot Records showcase. that was always the highlight of sxsw after their daytime barbeque party. it was where i saw not only a moving Sally Timms set, but a Kelly Hogan set that reduced me to near tears. this year there's nothing about their line-up that immediately grabs me. equally disappointing is the Kill Rock Stars showcase. meanwhile Stubbs is housing the absolute worst show with Nickel Creek, the Dresden Dolls, Gomez and the Fiery Furnaces.

Stars of Track and Field "With You"
Rocky Votolato "Tinfoil Hats"
Black Lipstick "No Mercy"
Man Man "Black Mission Goggles"
Metal Hearts "Socialize"

Another Band Makes Good

Snowden, my favorite "unsigned" band, is now signed! Check out the press release HERE. The lucky suitor, Jade Tree, will be releasing the Atlanta band's debut Anti Anti in the near future. Snowden's m.o. in the past has been lots of cool swirling guitars sounds and shattering sonic effects- at times a tad proggy and even shoegazey (Stones Roses, HUM and Radiohead come to mind) but backed with the kind of songwriting you expect from a tried-and-true singer-songwriter. The more recent material I've heard rocks a little harder, especially on drums. I look forward to seeing what they do next. Leadman Jordan Jefferies and his bandmates will be appearing at the label's SXSW showcase March 18th. Check out a sample of their new work:

Snowden: "Anti Anti"

Monday, March 06, 2006

weds. march 15, 2006

my brother suggested spending the week focusing on sxsw. when i moved to colorado for college and realized it was less than a days drive away, it became a yearly ritual for me to head down south to catch the festival and take in one of my favorite cities in the country. i went four times and each trip was filled with amazing stories, great bands i may have not seen otherwise and great food. the best part, however, may have been the week before i'd go when i'd sit down and make a list of every band i'd go see. you never end up sticking to that list, but it's still fun.

i managed to see my first great show of the year on friday. i went and saw austin natives Voxtrot and yes they are every bit as good as everyone says they are. they opened for my favorite local band, the Hot IQs, who were debuting their new music video. the other compelling newness would be the new Voxtrot ep, which they are pre-selling on their tour. talking to some members of the band after the show got me nostalgic for austin and so i'm submitting to my brothers sxsw fixation and i'll be using the next five days to plot out what i'd (want to) go see over the five days of the music festival, which begins weds. march 15th, if i was going this year.

8:00 pm
the Apes @ Club de Ville organ-driven, dc-based rock
Emily Sparks @ Tambaleo highly recommended voice
Say Hi To Your Mom @ Habana Calle 6 (Patio) an A4D favorite from my ny days

9:00 pm
Voxtrot @ Emo's Main Room playing every day and is worth seeing twice
Jose Gonzales @ Eternal bound to be packed
the King of France @ Red 7 it was the end credits of The Baxter that led to this regal discovery

10:00 pm
Field Music @ Emo's Main Room british pop like they don't make anymore
Annie @ Eternal the ferver has died down, but i still love that album
Knife in the Water @ Spiros another austin local worth visiting
Erin Roberts of Porlolo @ the Pecan St. Ale House i am going to recommend several denver bands, this being the first

11:00 pm
Frog Eyes @ Habana Calle 6 (Patio) saw them last year and loved it
Jedi Mind Tricks @ Red Eyed Fly i do love my hip hop when it's good
Laura Veirs @ Caribbean Lights some unwinding before you catch your second wind

12:00 am
Julie Doiron @ Copa former Eric's Trip gal has quietly released several great albums
the Octopus Project @ Emos Jr. texas rock meets the digital age
Of Montreal @ Emo's Main Room actually seen them fourteen times already
the Plimsouls @ Exodus your underground legend selection of the night
the Ponys @ the Parish my punkish rock for the night
Irving @ the Velvet Spade great pop that we covered a week ago

1:00 am
the Adored @ Blender Bar la's next band to be hyped and then disappear?
Saturday Looks Good to Me @ Emo's Jr. one the best current pop acts
the Go! Team @ Exodus at one am they'll make you dance off all your remaining energy
Friends of Dean Martinez @ Oslo the local band i'd always go see when at sxsw
Art Brut @ the Parish the show i'd most want to see

*i purposefully didn't include the matador show at stubbs with New Pornographers, Belle and Sebastian and Mogwai because i always avoided the one show every night that you knew would be way too packed.

Emily Sparks "Down in Virginia"
Irving "Jen"
Porlolo "Scratch My Back"

Friday, March 03, 2006


Today I'm experimenting with some possible new features for A4D. Please indulge me?

Rough Gem

Back in December I wrote about a wonderful sell-out show at the Knitting Factory where the band Islands (ex-Unicorns) were previewing new material. I also promised to let you know when that band and new material would finally find a domestic distributor. Well, that time is now. Return to the Sea will be released by Equator on April 4th. The first single, "Rough Gem" is making the rounds and I'd love to share it with you...

Islands "Rough Gem"

As you might be able to tell, I'm very excited. Do you think Islands are tired of seeing "Islands" always followed by "ex-Unicorns" in parathenses? Do you think they ever thought about changing their official name to "Islands (ex-Unicorns)"? Anyway, here are a few upcoming East Coast tour dates:

03/07 - Boston, MA - The Roxy
03/09 - Washington, D.C. - 9:30 Club
03/10 - New York City, NY - Webster Hall
03/11 - Philadelphia, PA - Starlight Ballroom

dick around

it seems that i've accomplished very little in the last few weeks. i've been sleeping my way thru work when i'm not on the internet and hardly leaving the house or getting chores done. thus when i heard the first track off the new Sparks album, it sounded like an appropriate theme. i was surprised that In the Red, a label that's been releasing a glut of raucous rock, released what is the twenty-some odd release from the la-based brother duo (Ron and Russell Mael). Hello Young Lovers find the group having endured for almost forty years and yet the remain surprsingly unknown to even some of the most avid of music fans. their sound, over the top glam pop, found a cult following overseas where Queen became one of their greatest immitators. i myself hadn't heard of the band until crossing paths with "the number one song in heaven" on the music blog circuit two years ago and subsequently worked it into a dj set last winter. anyway, let the band's wit provide the soundtrack to your own weekend of continued procrastination.

Sparks "Dick Around"

Thursday, March 02, 2006

as the band played on

i've had enough of a fascination with songs that reference other bands, that back in college i managed to put together an entire two hour set of such songs. my favorite amongst them is today's song from the athens, ga-based band, the Gerbils. the group was a project that featured several members of Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control (Scott Spillane, John D'Azzo and Will Westbrook). the fuzzy pop is familiar, but the nasally vocals made them stand out amidst the web of friends and their interweaving musical projects. "Crayon Box" is from their 1998 debut album, Are You Sleepy? and contains references to Portastatic and Sebadoh amidst a bitter reflection of a jilted lover who enacts the petty type of revenge behavior that would be familiar to anyone caught in a relationship on the outs.

the Gerbils "Crayon Box"

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

a modern girl

the duo Sing-Sing features Emma Anderson and Lisa O'Neill. the former should be familiar to some, myself included, as the guitarist of Lush. so much a fan of Lush, when i was in new york in 1998, i saw the Sing-Sing single for "feels like summer" and a clerk-inked note that said it was a member of Lush, i bought it without thinking and was immediately taken with the song. the group released six singles over four years on several labels before a full-length, the Joy of Sing-Sing, surfaced on the Poptones label in 2001. their second album was not without it's own delays. rather then continue to label hop, the pair decided to self-release their own album this time around. halfway thru the that process, however, the money was tapped and the group very creatively funded the rest of the album thru an online-only ep. thus, fans of Sing-Sing can unquestionably state that they had a hand in the release of that new album, Sing-Sing and I. released in the UK last the summer, the album finally is being distributed here in the states as of two weeks ago. it's an enjoyable collection of airy pop, which may lack the punch and reverb of Emma's preceding work, but O'Neills range of vocals distances the duo from needing to be compared to any previous work to sound appealing. they've moved away from the minimal electronics of the early singles and let their penchant for melody drive their very personalized songs.

Sing Sing "A Modern Girl"