The fabulous Lucero will be back in the studio for their follow up to "Rebels, Rogues, and Sworn Brothers" come early 2009. They announced yesterday they'll be back on the road (briefly) for two shows in December and two in February 2009.
12/12/08 - Portland, OR @ Berbatis Pan
12/13/08 - Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
2/6/09 + 2/7/09 - NYC, NY @ Terminal 5 (with The Black Keys and Heartless Bastards)
Look for Between Love and Like's interview with Ben Nichols next week.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Here's an embarrassing admission: when I was younger and first saw U2's video for New Year's Day, you know the one where they're playing in the snow in a clearing, I thought, "Man, they dragged generators all the way to the middle of nowhere so they could film this video, that must have been expensive." It wasn't until I read a Rolling Stone article on MTV after that I learned no one really played in videos. DOH!
MTV really was actually relevant once, a channel people really did watch. It showed real music videos of artists from many genres and was actually a go-to place to learn about current music and music news. It exposed little known acts to kids like myself who lived in little-known towns, an exposure that we probably wouldn't have had otherwise (radio stations in upstate NY weren't prone to sandwiching a lot of Roxy Music or INXS between REO Speedwagon and Pink Floyd in their rock blocks back then). In MTV's early years, it actually was pretty interesting. I'd even wager a guess that early MTV played a definitive role in creating the music snob who proverbially stands before you today because it let me know there was other music out there besides the assorted radio tripe of the day like REO Speedwagon and Pink Floyd.
Well for a little trip backwards in time, the NY Post reported the other day that MTV has now posted nearly every video ever played on MTV online for free viewing. Hopefully they left out that never-ending spew of those by Hall and Oates. I swear, they were on just as much as the VJs.
You want your MTV? Now you've got it.
More than 22,000 music videos - nearly every video that's ever been played on MTV - are now available free on one new Web site.
It might be the biggest collection of music videos ever to be assembled in one place on the Web.
The new site is called mtvmusic.com, and its launch, which MTV considers to still be in the testing stage, has not even been formally announced.
But the secret's out. The site went online Monday, although it is not currently linked to any other MTV sites.
Besides the 22,000 videos from MTV's co-owned music networks - MTV, VH-1 and CMT - the site has an estimated 5,000 other pieces of content, including interview segments culled from the networks' shows.
"It's our way of opening up our vast storehouse," said an MTV spokesman who emphasized that the site is a work in progress. "Most of the things that are on there are things that have been on CMT, VH-1 or MTV's Web sites at some point."
So far, the bare-bones site carries no ads, although they might be added later.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Just in time for the election, Wilco is appearing on the Colbert Report tonight...should be good.
In other related news, they sent this in a news blurb today. As it would appear they would benefit monetarily from the release, gotta give Tweedy and co. props for this bit of fan consideration.
Also, we have a CONSUMER ALERT. Without consulting us, the DVD company (not WB/Nonesuch) that released "I am trying to break your heart" is about to issue a Blu-Ray Edition which, no surprise, costs considerably more (nearly 2x) than the standard DVD. We're unsure as to the rationale for the release, given that the film was shot in beautiful grainy B&W and has a stereo-only audio track... there is, in our opinion, not much to be gained by spending the extra cash. It's your money... and in this case you should probably hang onto it.
News also mentioned that new material from the band should be out in early '09.
Go see Matt over at You Ain't Picasso for two new songs that Wilco debuted at the recent Bridge Benefit.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I first discovered Mark Everett and his band, Eels while watching some really crappy movie about Los Angeles a million years ago. The song "Beautiful Freak" was at the end, one that is really beautiful and utterly haunting. It took a lot of squinting because the tape quality wasn't great, but man, was it worth it. Everett's songwriting is touching, personal, and poignant, and it's a band that's definitely become a favorite of mine.
Eels have a free EP that's available for download through today, put out in conjuction with a limited edition deluxe vinyl release of Eels latest, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. If you've not heard this band yet, go take a listen...
10/21/2008- FREE EELS EP DOWNLOAD / DELUXE BLINKING LIGHTS VINYL BOX SET:
To celebrate the release of the BLINKING LIGHTS AND OTHER REVELATIONS 4 LP deluxe vinyl limited edition the band is giving away a 4 song EP download for one week, starting right now. The deluxe BLINKING LIGHTS package includes 3 LPs of the critically acclaimed album on vinyl for the first time with a fourth disc that is an exclusive 17 track live album, MANCHESTER 2005, recorded shortly after the release of BLINKING LIGHTS. The signed edition is limited to only 2,500 copies and will be sold in order of lowest cover numbers first, 0001 - 2500.
The free EP download contains 4 songs from the exclusive MANCHESTER 2005 album, which is only available on vinyl as part of the BLINKING LIGHTS deluxe edition, but you can download the EP regardless of ordering the BLINKING LIGHTS deluxe edition. Anyone who wants the EP can have it! Simply enter a valid email address and follow the link from the email for easy download. The MP3s will play on any iPod, MP3 player or computer. Download the free EELS MANCHESTER 2005 EP now until Tues, Oct 28 and/or order the limited deluxe signed BLINKING LIGHTS vinyl box set HERE.
Monday, October 20, 2008
7. The Whigs
They put The Whigs in that little hallway room. The ear splitting, rocktastic, popular Whigs in a room that doubles as a hallway, a mind-boggling move to say the least. It sounds stupid, but after seeing these guys at SXSW 2008, I really wanted to get a shot of Julian Dorio's hair flying around while playing here at Monolith....something about it just makes me laugh, probably because it reminds me of Animal on the Muppets (yes, I know, I'm a dork.) The lighting wasn't stellar in this room but I think I scored one or two good ones of both Dorio as well as the group as a whole.
Playing-wise they were, as usual, fucking awesome. But the immense crowd, coupled with the inability for the security people to keep space in front for the camera folks to shoot without being inundated by said crowd, made me way too claustrophobic. Which bummed me out as The Whigs were one of the groups I was really psyched to see again live.
I did get a few minutes in with lead singer/guitarist Parker Gispert afterwards. He said they're doing more east coast dates and will be hitting DC this fall (with the Kings of Leon in November at DAR; DAR, well you can't win em all).
8. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Ruling the mainstage in the late afternoon was Sharon Jones and her Dap Kings. I'd heard she is a full on cyclone live and that was no joke.
Her sound of soul and funk harkens one back to an earlier time in pop music history when girl groups ruled and bouffant hairdos were the rage, when Tina Turner danced her ass off in that macramé dress while belting out a song. Jones absolutely knows how to hold a crowd in her hand.
Dancing barefoot onstage, pulling this crazy caped crusader named TRL out of the crowd for some onstage teaching about how a woman just wants a man to "Be Easy" (though we were all convinced that dancing with Sharon Jones is about as close as TRL would ever want a woman to get to him)...
...having women come up on stage to dance with her, and ending with a show-stopping, heart-pounding, ass-shakin, body-quakin version of James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," she was literally all over the place. The center of the cyclone had settled right over us and we were all happy to be swept up into the inward spiraling wind that was Sharon Jones. She is, by far, the hardest working woman in showbiz.
9. The Airborne Toxic Event
Racing back up the 230 stairs, I found a bit of a traffic jam trying to get to the inside stages. Apparently, the organizers hadn't anticipated the draw of the some of these inside bands like the Presets and Does it Offend You Yeah? (Dee captures the mayhem well here). In order to slow the flow, they closed off one of the two entrances, allowing one person in when one person left the inside stage hallway; not both entrances mind you, just the one, which didn't make much sense. So I had to do some fast talking and thankfully, a very nice employee led me through the kitchen to the side room where they were playing. (whew!)
By now, I'm sure you’ve heard about that awful Pitchfork review of Airborne's debut record and Airborne's spirited response. After I'd read the review, I emailed lead singer Mikel Jollet and said you should invite the guy to a show as he obviously has never seen y'all live. Now, if you’ve been reading my site here at all, you know I've interviewed The Airborne Toxic Event, I’ve reviewed them, I’ve photographed them...I’m a fan. But remember that Replacements Factor I spoke of ? I think Airborne sorta has that too. Their record is good, don't get me wrong, but had I heard their record before seeing them live, I honestly don’t know if I would have been quite as knocked out by them. That stunning "thing" that they have, like the Mats, A Place to Bury Strangers, and countless others, that thing about them that seems to raise the hairs on the back of your neck, that's so completely obvious when you see them on the stage. You get glimpses of it in what you hear from the scripted confines of a studio booth and mixing board, but seeing them live is when you forget to breathe. (In my humble opinion of course...)
And Monolith was no exception. It was a fantastic set even though the entire band was all terribly ill with the flu. Drummer Daren Taylor told me afterward, "I'm exhausted, but I played my ass off." Yes, yes he was, and yes, yes he did.
That's because Airborne is a band that just can’t let themselves play a bad show, even being so sick they could barely remain standing (bassist Noah Harmon, in fact, sat down on the rocks in back of the stage at one point). The author of that Pitchfork review, Ian Cohen, claimed the band is about market research and does what they do according to a "formula" so to speak. Though Cohen would probably somehow consider playing deathly ill as part of that "formula," I bet everyone who was at their show at Monolith saw it for what it really was, a band obsessively dedicated to their audience, their performance, and their music.
Plus, I mean seriously, how beautifully does lead guitarist Steven Chen photograph? You just cannot shoot a bad photo of this guy...
10. TV on the Radio
And while we're on the topic of dedication...there had been rumors all day that TVOTR may not make their evening slot but no one knew why. Around their show time on the mainstage, the photo pit was as jammed full as the crowd behind us in anticipation. Finally, 15 minutes past their scheduled start time, the announcer came out to tell us the story: Seems the band was in Salt Lake City at 11 am, gearing up to head to Red Rocks, but the bus broke down. Sunday, Salt Lake City, big bus=trouble finding the right parts. By about 2 pm though, they apparently said fuck it, found a bunch of rental cars, and literally broke many speed limits to get to Red Rocks a mere 15 minutes late. Festival organizers thought they wouldn't make it as TVOTR checked in with their location progress throughout the day, but the band was certain they would (the organizers had obviously never driven with NY-drivers apparently, heh).
Needless to say, when TVOTR hit the stage, the place, as well as the band, went bananas. Lead singer Tunde Adebimpe never stopped moving the entire show, alternating between pogoing and dancing (and damn, can the man dance!).
They're out doing a few shows supporting the super incredible Dear Science. It's funky, it's thrash, it's rock, all laced with interesting pop sensibilities. This record is, and absolutely deserves to be, in everyone's top 10 lists for 2008. This is definitely a group you MUST check out live.
11. CSS(Cansei de Ser Sexy)
I figured CSS would be a big draw so for the last time over my two days at Red Rocks, I trucked back up the 230 stairs (total stairs climbed over 48 hours: 986875675454). But in doing so, I had to miss the back end of the TVOTR show, which was a drag. Even more of a drag because CSS was 15 minutes late in starting. My guess? CSS lead singer Lovefoxxx had to finish tying the last garbage bag piece to her jacket.
"Hyper" is an understated adjective for Portugal's CSS. But so is "addicting," shake your ass madly," and "listen on repeat." Lead singer Lovefoxxx is quite the Portugese Beyonce, dancing, hair tossin, crowd-flirting up a storm, all the while singing her ass off. These guys were definitely worth waiting around for....
At this point, I was seriously shivering (a mile above sea level gets damn cold at night), and I had no interest in seeing two French guys dj on the mainstage (yes, it was Justice. No, I didn't need to see dj'ing done live), so I called it a night.
What a couple of days...Red Rocks was incredible. I heard a rumor that Monolith lost money and it's possible it won't happen again, which would be a shame. It's got potential, true potential, so I hope they can make it work. The lineup was a really interesting collection of bands, all different and indie. The surroundings were amazing. And sure, there were a few issues (the indoor stage setup, security not always understanding the setup for photographers) but overall, things were smooth, and it was, most importantly, fun. The Monolith Festival did what a good music festival should do, have enough bigger name acts to draw folks sprinkled with lots of smaller groups that you'll walk away happy to have discovered. I know I'll definitely go again next year, if only to shoot more of the incredible landscape.
While, yup, roughly $200 is a lotta dollars these days, it seems like you get quite a lot for it from these last 20 years of Merge Records, no?
The Merge Covers Album is nearing completion, with the following artists having contributed interpretations of their favorites from the Merge catalogue (and a few more expected):(Thanks Gregor for the info)
Apples In Stereo
Death Cab for Cutie
Les Savy Fav
Times New Viking
Tracey Thorn & Jens Lekman
The Merge Remix Album is nearly finished as well, with mixes having been submitted thus far by:
Hands Off Cuba
Kieran Hebden (Four Tet)
Trey Told ‘Em (Gregg Gillis & Frank Musarra)
As previously announced, the full list of curators for the next 12 volumes has been confirmed and is as follows: Amy Poehler, David Byrne, Miranda July, Jonathan Lethem, artist Marcel Dzama, Momofuku chef David Chang, Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo, Zach Galifianakis, New Yorker critic/The Rest Is Noise author Alex Ross, Persepolis author Marjane Satrapi, and artists Andrea Zittel and Kara Walker.
The entire SCORE! Merge Records: The First 20 Years project will benefit specific charitable causes handpicked by these curators.
Subscribers will receive the sixteen CDs, MRG, and other exclusive content in the mail throughout 2009, Merge’s 20th Anniversary year, as well as a special box to put them all in.
Quantities will be limited to the number of subscribers who enroll prior to the January 2009 delivery of the first two volumes (curated respectively by Peter Buck of R.E.M. and director Phil Morrison).
Those ordering before November 8 will receive the entire collection for $179. After that date, the price will be $199 until pre-orders close in January (exact date TBD).
To subscribe to SCORE! Merge Records: The First 20 Years: http://tinyurl.com/46ha7d
Friday, October 17, 2008
Awhile back, I ran a contest for TV On the Radio swag (vinyl copy of their latest, 'Dear Science,' and a nifty cool poster designed by TVOTR lead singer, Tunde Adebimpe). And, as is sometimes the case, Blogger ate the post and I forgot to redo it.
So! It's high time to post our winners! They are...
Please send your addresses at Between Love and Like's email address and I'll it along. Thanks for playing y'all.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
(Day 1 recap here and here.)
1.Jukebox The Ghost
Finally knowing the lay of the land (and making sure to bring warmer clothes) after Day 1, I started Monolith Festival-Day 2 off with my DC brethren, Jukebox the Ghost. Now living out of Philly, this piano-laden power pop trio is upbeat, kinda quirky, rather witty, and know how to put on a kick-ass live show; in other words, the perfect people to start a day with. Think Ben Folds Five meets They Might Be Giants, the latter merely for the quirky factor: TMBG does songs about Istanbul and Constantinople, JBTG does songs about God taking out the state of Nebraska then realizing woops, maybe that wasn't such a good idea. Unlike TMBG, JBTG also does great songs with the serious fodder of relationships, love, and the 'What the hell does one do now?' conundrum, many with ridiculously catchy melodies.
And though they were playing in that awful indoor hallway stage (see entry on Liam Finn from Day 1) that would continue to curse me on Day 2 in terms of bad lighting and sound, you couldn't stay agitated when watching JBTG. Especially keyboard player and singer Ben Thornewill, as his animated body and feet moved around behind his keyboards like a 5 year old with ADD.
Listen: Hold It In-Jukebox the Ghost
2. Rosewood Thieves
I ran down the 230 steps to the main stage for the first, but certainly not the last, time that day, for the Rosewood Thieves, a group of five out of NYC. We all wondered (and applauded) the fact that this smallish, kinda unknown band snagged a main stage slot. And once they started playing you saw why: consummate professionals, they owned that stage.
Playing folk-pop, lead singer/guitarist Erick Jordan channeled both parts of Lennon and McCartney (Lennon with his voice, McCartney with his very handsome Rickenbacker). But make no mistake, the Rosewood's sound, pop with heavy folk influences, is all their own.
I got to chat some with Rosewood's very nice and really talented lead guitarist Paul Jenkins after at the rather stinky (literally) media tent. He mentioned the band will be doing some east coast dates; they'll be in DC at the Red and the Black on November 20.
Listen: Silver Gun_The Rosewood Thieves
I'd really liked what I heard from Atlanta's Snowden beforehand, so I raced back up the 230 steps to find plenty of other folks shared my good taste. I really like lead singer Jordan Jeffares voice- it's got a calm, lilting sound to it but also an edge...imagine Paul Simon's voice from the Simon and Garfunkel-era but covered in tar.
What makes them interesting is that the band has a great shoe-gaze fuzzy pop sound with a pretty hefty backbeat.
A lot of that is owed to their really energetic and dynamic female bassist Corinne Lee, who kicks the proverbial ass of her bass live. I bumped into Jeffares at one point later on and remarked how much I liked their set and how cool it was to watch Lee. He said, “Yeah, we get that a lot about her.”
Listen: Like Bullets_Snowden
4. Tokyo Police Club
I’m probably killing my indie-cool cred (if I ever had any heh) with saying this, but Tokyo Police Club didn’t wow me much. I liked their energy and the idea of their hard-driving pop sure, but in terms of the songs, eh...they were a bit too run-of-the-mill for me. I know many folks love these guys like Lindsay Lohan loves the ladies, and while I do acknowledge they have a special somethin-somethin there, I, personally, just wasn’t feeling it.
But I do have to give ultimate props to the band’s keyboardist, Graham Wright. His hopping, jumping, and stomping around kept everyone riveted to stage right.
Listen: You English is Good_Tokyo Police Club
5. The Avett Brothers
I’d read raves about The Avett Brothers before arriving at Monolith and once there, I learned two things: 1) I think I'm the only one who came to Monolith unconverted, based on the huge crowd they drew, and 2) unlike what I read about Tokyo Police Club, these raves were absolutely, positively, and definitely all justified. Out of Concord, NC, this 3-4 piece (the cellist only seems to play sometimes) makes this one disarming amalgam of rock and bluegrass.
Now I know you’re like, “Bluegrass? In an indie band?” But oh my, the Avett Brothers ensure you know that rock and bluegrass are indeed two great tastes that go great together. Over an instrumental tag team of an acoustic, an upright bass, and a banjo (and at times drums and a cello) are these really intimate and harmony-laden songs of love, loss, and yearning that filled the vast Red Rocks Amphitheater in an utterly graceful way.
Seriously, don’t let the “bluegrass” tag avert you, these guys bring the rock. The bluegrass is filtered through in ways you don’t even notice until you realize you’ve stopped breathing because you’re so overwhelmed by the beauty of their melodies. And the two vocal harmonies of Scott and Seth Avett are so perfectly fused; it’s hard to believe the sounds are coming from just two people.
And here’s a ponder for the day: is it me or does Scott Avett and a young Keith Richards circa 1964 sorta look separated at birth? Hmm...
The Brothers performed a song at Monolith called “Laundry Room” (which absolutely slayed the Monolith crowd). It’s not out yet but video from a performance earlier this year in Atlanta is below.
6. Tilly and the Wall
Much like Tilly’s show in DC, there was tap dancin...
and crazy outfits...
and super kinetic hyperactivity on stage (as well as a crazy guy named "TRL" but we'll get to him in the Sharon Jones/Dap Kings segment). This is a band that is always upbeat and positive, and it absolutely seeps into and amps up the crowd.
I didn’t get close enough in DC to see this, but singer Kianna Alarid sports an impressive amount of ink. Go girl!
Listen: Pot Kettle Black_Tilly and the Wall
(Still to come...The Whigs, Hearts of Palm, The Airborne Toxic Event, TV on the Radio, and CSS.)