Friday, February 27, 2009

SXSW 09: Rachel Ray's Day Party Info...

"One in, one out," fabulous, that's how I missed Nada Surf last year. What they really mean is "Stay at Maggie Mae's all day long to see the last three acts." Ugh. Her food lineup looks tasty though...

"Over on her official website, the full line-up has been revealed:

The Hold Steady
New York Dolls
The Airborne Toxic Event
Ra Ra Riot
Bob Schneider
The Cringe
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Semi Precious Weapons
The Thermals
John Pringle

It’s Saturday @ Maggie Mae’s. Her website also lists the food Rachael will be preparing.

UPDATE: Entrance is based on a first come, first serve basis. Once the venue reaches capacity, management will institute a “one out, one in” admission process." (Source)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Earotica: Hold Time-M. Ward Review

M. Ward may be one of the few artists who truly understands the potential of a studio recording. Having long been regarded as something of a sonic loner – both in spite of and because of his friendship with Conor Oberst – Ward’s recordings started off sounding like bedroom angst recorded through a tin can. But with 2005’s Transistor Radio, the world at large began to see Ward had more to offer than his mournful crooning and virtuosic acoustic guitar picking. Finally on 2006’s Post-War, Ward burst from his shell with a collection of Jim James-produced pageantry, all production tricks and Roy Orbison-esque swagger. Last year’s release with Zooey Deschanel under the name She & Him had me almost convinced I was never going to get a proper M. Ward record again (Post War was great, but it sounded unevenly like the work of its producer more than Ward himself). And then Hold Time arrived and it all became clear. M. Ward hasn’t changed, he’s simply taken control.

On Hold Time, Ward and engineer/sideman Mike Mogis have figured out where to strike the balance between the glitz of Post War, the full band sound of She & Him, the lonesome sound of his first albums, and as always, Ward's truly inspired guitar playing. Hold Time feels like a man with total awareness of his powers, and it shows in his arrangements, his most endearing to date. The songs go from fast-paced feasts of layered guitars and thunderous percussion (“To Save Me”) to the quiet numbers that sound like they’re perpetually drifting down a lazy, autumn river (“One Hundred Million Years”). Like the perfect director, Ward makes a song feel like it sounds, complete with scratches, the compression, and the right amount of reverb. Listening to him trade guitar licks with himself on “Oh Lonesome Me," it sounds as assured and calming as a sunset, and he knows it. He can make a song sound 40 years old, like on “Stars of Leo," then melt the quiet and assure the song’s modernity. But the true power of Hold Time came through for me when “Fisher of Men” came on. Though “Fisher” sounds like a combination of every kind of song Ward has ever written, somehow it still sounds new and vital – post-punk meets the Grand Ole Opry.

He’s asked some heroes and friends to join him; Lucinda Williams gives a rousing ‘n raspy contribution to “Oh Lonesome Me”; so impassioned and fitting is her performance that it’s tough to decide who does the better job. His collaboration with Jason Lytle on “To Save Me” is just about the coolest damn thing a Grandaddy fan could ask for, and is, frankly, my favorite song of the last three months. Rachel Blumberg of the Decemberists and Norfolk & Western sits in again on drums (she played on Post War), giving things a backbone in that spunky way that only she can. I admit that I was prepared to dislike Hold Time based solely on Zooey Deschanel’s presence, but her collaborations do make two of his best songs ("Never Had Nobody Like You" and "Rave On") even better. Using Deschanel’s voice as backing instead of having it front and center was a wise decision; her voice sounds flawless behind Ward’s.

M. Ward albums have always been decently paced, but Hold Time goes by in the blink of an eye. Moving deftly from style to style, song to song, electric to acoustic, the 14 songs bleed into one another and pass through your eardrums like the soundtrack to a fleeting, idyllic daydream. Hold Time feels like the statement that Bright Eyes’ Cassadaga was supposed to be: the record of today, yesterday and tomorrow.

Rosewood Thieves to do March East Coast Tour

A favorite of ours since we discovered them at the Monolith Festival in September, New York's The Rosewood Thieves announced yesterday they're heading back out on the road in March, AND recording a live record during their Nashville show, AND opening for the Hold Steady back in NYC at the HS Irving Plaza show. Whew!

we are gearing up to leave for our two week tour next week, which will include recording a live record at The Basement in Nashville.

we are happy to be bringing along our friend James from Basement Band to play bass on the trip, Jon with be playing extra keyboards and guitar.

yup yup 6 Rosewood Thieves on this trip!

so mark your ical's freaks

3/2 - Baltimore MD / Talking Head Club
3/3 - Chapel Hill NC / Local 506
3/4 - Atlanta GA / Drunken Unicorn
3/5 - Athens GA / Caledonia Lounge
3/6 - Nashville TN / The Basement
3/7 - Nashville TN / The Basement
3/9 - Cincinnati OH / The Comet
3/10 - Pittsburgh PA / Garfield Artworks
3/11 - Rochester NY / Bug Jar
3/12 - Brooklyn NY / Union Hall
3/13 - New York NY / Pianos
3/14 - Philadelphia PA / M Room

also we are playing a SOLD OUT show with The Hold Steady at Irving Plaza on March 30th!!!

Listen: She Don't Mind the Rain-The Rosewood Thieves

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Laryngiterranean Homesick Blues with The Airborne Toxic Event

Say what you want about The Airborne Toxic Event, love them, hate them, whatever....but you gotta give it up for them being some funny, funny, cats. Plus if they ever do a remake of that Dylan video, lead singer Mikel Jollett's already got the moves...the big question is who'd play the Ginsberg character since they're all so svelte...

Show Review: Lucero @ Ottobar, Baltimore, MD (2-5-09)

At one point during Lucero’s recent show at the Ottobar in Baltimore, MD, lead singer/guitarist Ben Nichols commented how tired they all were as they had driven up from Nashville. But "tired" was the last adjective anyone would use for this Lucero show. They went on to play a hard 90 minutes, doing what they do best, tearing up the floorboards and shaking the rafters.

With them this night was pedal steel player Tom Beam and accordion/keyboard player Rick Steff. Steff and Beam backed up Nichols on his recent solo record, The Last Pale Light in the West. “We normally get one or the other so it’s cool to have both of them tonight,” said Nichols.

(Todd Beam)

(Rick Steff)

Beam's interaction with the band, especially Nichols, was great to watch because it's obvious they all have a great time together. During my interview with Nichols back in November, he commented how every member of Lucero has the Lucero insignia tattoo, including Beam.

The full band played a majority of the time but Nichols came out towards the end for a set of his songs from The Last Pale Light with Beam and Steff. They played two new songs, one with the full band and one during Nichols' solo set. Of the two, I can't say I liked the full band piece as much the pared down presentation. While I give props to Lucero for covering an Irishman as bad ass as Phil Lynott, I've never been a big fan of a lot of his music so a “rip off of Thin Lizzy,” as Nichols called the new full band song, fell sort of in the same "not so much" category.

But the other new song was beautiful. Played by Nichols during his five to eight song solo set with Beam and Steff backing, it's one of those great songs of longing and loneliness that Nichols seems to pen so well. “We did this only once before, in Nashville,” said Nichols. Group consensus was that it's called “The Other Side."

(By the way, if you have not purchased The Last Pale Light yet, I highly recommend it. It's this lush compilation that's deceptive in its structural simplicity. There's no fancy guitar wizardry or complex Dylan-esque lyrics that describe its inspiration, Cormac McCarthy's novel, Blood Meridian, it's a set of seven songs about characters in the book using many of the exact phrases and words that McCarthy wrote. These lyrics, paired with keyboard, accordian, acoustic and steel pedal guitar, take a story filled with, quoting Nichols, "gnarly violence," and make them into seven songs of calming and blinding, but somber, beauty. Toadvine is one of these, which Nichols said he wrote in his bedroom. "It's a hard song to sing at a rock show," he said.

Picking it back up with the sure-to-please-the-crowd number, “All Sewn Up,” you couldn't help but come back up with them. A rollicking ball of punkabilly, the band tore into it with vigor. At one point, it was a case of dueling pianos with Beam and Steff (on keyboards), and wound up an all-out musicial brawl.

This is a band that knows its audience came to see them, all sewn up with bad tattoos in full, and no amount of tired was going to stop that. Most of the night, they were taking requests from the audience in addition to their regular set list. “You don’t realize this is a finely timed machine up here, down to a science,” said Nichols as he wore a wry grin and tapped a non-existent watch.

Covers included Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers, a punked-version of Dirty Old Town by The Pogues, Kiss the Bottle by Jawbreaker, and possibly a Charlie Daniels song (or maybe it was just a song that sounded like a Charlie Daniels song, none of us could tell...)

As the band filed back out for the encore, lead guitarist Brian Venable took a seat behind drummer Roy Barry's drum kit and started to play...

...and soon the rest of the band started to follow. Barry decided fair was fair, and picked up Venable's guitar. “He’s been doing this for 11 years and this is the first time he’s been able to do this,” said Nichols of Barry switching instruments.

In the end, everyone was exhausted, the band, the audience, the bartenders...but it was that happy sort of exhausted one gets at the end of a Lucero show. You never know what you'll see or what you'll get at one of their shows, but dog-tired or not, Lucero is a band that makes sure you walk away from it a convert. A Lucero show, my friends, defines what makes a live show fun.

(See the rest of the Lucero show photos here.)

-Toadvine-Ben Nichols/Purchase
-All Sewn Up-Lucero/Purchase

(Lucero is currently out on tour throughout the country (see dates here). Ben Nichols will be opening for The Pogues (!!) at their sold out shows here in Washington, DC on March 17 and 18. If you're heading to SXSW, they're playing, well, all over the place. Check the SXSW schedule for details.)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yep Roc Stimulus Plan Sale till Friday; All CDs $5 and $10

Oh Yep Roc, how I love thee...you remind me of my second home and moon pies, of Carolina Blue and muggy, muggy summers. You always say just the right things...now you're looking out for my pocketbook with your very own Stimulus Plan Sale. You're yummier than those chocolate shakes from Char-Grill, you know that?

Let's face it, times are tough. But your friends here at Yep Roc Records don't think your record collection should suffer just because times are lean. We are excited to announce our Yep Roc Stimulus Plan to help you revive your record collection!

For one more week, the Yep Roc Webstore is offering hundreds of our best CDs and LPs at drastically reduced prices! For a limited time only single CDs will be $5, double disc CDs will be $10 and LPs will be just $10!*

Check out the list below to see all the fantastic Yep Roc releases that are being offered at "Roc-bottom" deals! The Yep Roc Stimulus Plan will end on Friday, February 27!

All items are available only while supplies last, so don't wait to stock up on all these great titles!


Yep Roc CD's - ONLY $5
Dave Alvin - West of the West
American Princes - Little Spaces
American Princes - Less and Less
The Apples in stereo - New Magnetic Wonder
The Apples in stereo - Electronic Projects for Musicians
Big Sandy & His Flyrite Boys - Turntable Matinee
The Bigger Lovers - Honey In The Hive
The Bigger Lovers - This Affair Never Happened
Doyle Bramhall - Is It News
Jake Brennan & The Confidence Men - Love And Bombs
The Butchies - Make Yr Life
The Cake Sale - The Cake Sale
Carlene Carter - Stronger
Caitlin Cary - I'm Staying Out
Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockrell - Begonias
Chatham County Line - Route 23
Chatham County Line - Speed of the Whippoorwill
Chatham County Line - IV
Cities - Cities
Cities - Variations
Thad Cockrell - Warmth & Beauty
The Comas - Conductor
The Countdown Quartet - Sadlack's Stomp
Jason Darling - Night Like My Head
Ronnie Dawson - More Bad Habits
John Doe - Forever Hasn't Happened Yet
John Doe - For the Best of Us
John Doe - A Year In The Wilderness
Dolorean - You Can't Win
Amy Farris - Anyway
Liam Finn - I'll Be Lightning
The Fleshtones - Beachhead
The Fleshtones - Take a Good Look
The Fleshtones - Stocking Stuffer
Robert Forster - The Evangelist
The Forty-Fives - High Life High Volume
Robbie Fulks - Georgia Hard
The Go-Betweens - Oceans Apart
The Golden Dogs - Big Eye Little Eye
The Gourds - Noble Creatures
Robby Grant - Unleavened Bread
Greg Hawks & The Tremblers - Fool's Paradise
Heavy Trash - Heavy Trash
Heavy Trash - Going Way Out with Heavy Trash
Heloise & the Savoir Faire - Trash, Rats, and Microphones
Kristin Hersh - Learn To Sing Like A Star
Robyn Hitchcock - Spooked
Robyn Hitchcock - Ole! Tarantula
Robyn Hitchcock - Sex, Food, Death and Tarantulas
Robyn Hitchcock - Black Snake Diamond Role
Robyn Hitchcock - I Often Dream of Trains
Robyn Hitchcock - Eye
Robyn Hitchcock - Fegmania!
Robyn Hitchcock - Element of Light
Robyn Hitchcock - Gotta Let This Hen Out
Claire Holley - Claire Holley
Claire Holley - Dandelion
Ian Hunter - Shrunken Heads
The Iguanas - If You Should Ever Fall On Hard Times
Jason & The Scorchers - Wildfires & Misfires
Jennyanykind - Big Johns
Jennyanykind - I Need You
Kingsbury Manx - The Fast Rise and Fall Of The South
Laika & The Cosmonauts - Absurdistan
Laika & The Cosmonauts - Laika Sex Machine
Laika & The Cosmonauts - Local Warming
Laika & The Cosmonauts - Cosmopolis
Jim Lauderdale - Country Super Hits, Vol. 1
Jim Lauderdale - Bluegrass Diaries
Jim Lauderdale - Honey Songs
Th' Legendary Shack*Shakers - Believe
Th' Legendary Shack*Shakers - Swampblood
Los Straitjackets - Supersonic Guitars in 3-D
Los Straitjackets - Twist Party
Los Straitjackets - Rock En Espanol Vol. 1
Nick Lowe - The Convincer
Nick Lowe - At My Age
Marah - 20,000 Streets Under The Sky
Marah - If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry
Marah - A Christmas Kind of Town
Marah - Angels of Destruction!
The Mayflies USA - Summertown
The Mayflies USA - The Pity List
The Mayflies USA - Walking In A Straight Line
Mercury Dime - Darkling
The Minus 5 - Down With Wilco
The Minus 5 - In Rock
The Minus 5 - The Minus 5
The Minus 5 - At The Organ EP
The Moaners - Dark Snack
The Moaners - Blackwing Yalobusha
Ian Moore - Luminaria
Bob Mould - Body Of Song
Chuck Prophet - Soap and Water
Radio Birdman - Zeno Beach
Reckless Kelly - Bulletproof
The Reverend Horton Heat - We Three Kings
Ringenberg, Jason - All Over Creation
Ringenberg, Jason - Empire Builders
Rock Plaza Central - Are We Not Horses
Dexter Romweber - Blues that Defy My Soul
The Sadies - Tales of the Ratfink: Original Soundtrack
The Sadies - New Seasons
Ron Sexsmith - Exit Strategy of the Soul
Simple Kid - 2
Robert Skoro - That These Things Could Be Ours
Sloan - Never Hear The End Of It
Sloan - Parallel Play
Southern Culture On The Skids - Countrypolitan Favorites
Spencer Dickinson/Jon Spencer - The Man Who Lives for Love
Chris Stamey - Travels In The South
Chris Stamey - A Question of Temperature
The Standard - Wire Post To Wire
The Standard - Albatross
Ken Stringfellow - Soft Commands
Swag - Catchall
Tonebenders - Tonebenders
Tres Chicas - Sweetwater
Tres Chicas - Bloom, Red & The Ordinary Girl
Two Dollar Pistols - Hands Up
Various Artists - REVIVAL Brunswick Stew & Pig Picks
Various Artists - REVIVAL 2 Kudzu and Hollerin'Con
Various Artists - The Garden Place; Songs by Our Friends
Various Artists - Oh Santa! New & Used Christmas Classics
Loudon Wainwright III - Recovery
Geraint Watkins - Dial W For Watkins
Paul Weller - Illumination
Paul Weller - As Is Now
You Am I - Convicts

Yep Roc Double CD's - ONLY $10
Billy Bragg - Life's a Riot with Spy vs. Spy
Billy Bragg - Brewing Up with Billy Bragg
Billy Bragg - Talking with the Taxman About Poetry
Billy Bragg - The Internationale/Live & Dubious
Billy Bragg - Workers Playtime
Billy Bragg - Don't Try This At Home
Billy Bragg - William Bloke
Billy Bragg - England, Half English
Robbie Fulks - Revenge!
The Go-Betweens - That Striped Sunlight Sound
Marah - Sooner Or Later In Spain
The Sadies - In Concert Volume One
Paul Weller - Catch-Flame!
Southern Culture On The Skids - Doublewide and Live

Yep Roc LP's - ONLY $10
Swag - Catchall
Los Straitjackets - Tis The Season For Los Straitjackets
The Minus 5 - Down With Wilco
The Butchies - Make Yr Life
The Forty-Fives - High Life High Volume
Dexter Romweber - Blues That Defy My Soul
Dolorean - Violence in the Snowy Fields
Ian Moore - Luminaria
Robyn Hitchcock - Spooked
The Moaners - Dark Snack
Bob Mould - Body Of Song
Los Straitjackets - Los Straitjackets in Concert
The Go-Betweens - Oceans Apart
Dolorean - You Can't Win
Heavy Trash - Going Way Out with Heavy Trash
Cities - Variations EP
Th' Legendary Shack*Shakers - Swampblood
Liam Finn - I'll Be Lightning
The Apples in stereo - Electronic Projects for Musicians

Get your ordering on here.

Tinted Windows Debut to Drop 4/21, Group's Coming Together Explained

Aha, now it all makes sense. But what I wanna know is can we still expect Bun E. to play with baseball bats?

The debut, self-titled album by Tinted Windows will be released April 21st on S-Curve Records. Tinted Windows are: Taylor Hanson (lead vocals), James Iha (guitar), Adam Schlesinger (bass), and Bun E. Carlos (drums).

Taylor Hanson is best known as a member of Hanson, the multi-million-selling trio of brothers from Tulsa who have been recording and touring since 1992. James Iha was one of the original members of the Smashing Pumpkins, and has also been a member of A Perfect Circle and a solo artist. Adam Schlesinger is in the bands Fountains Of Wayne and Ivy. Bun E. Carlos is the drummer of the legendary Cheap Trick, with whom he has played since the group's inception in 1974.

The band will be making several appearances at the upcoming South By Southwest Festival in March. They will also perform select club shows starting this spring, and will appear at the Bamboozle festival at New Jersey's Meadowlands. A performance on The Late Show With David Letterman is scheduled for April 20th. More dates will be announced shortly.

Taylor and Adam first crossed paths in the mid-Nineties and stayed friends ever since. "Taylor and I had always talked about trying to do something together," says Schlesinger, "maybe write some songs, or play some shows - something." Meanwhile, James' and Adam's respective bands had toured together, and the two have been collaborating on various projects for years, including guesting on each others' records, producing other groups together, running indie label Scratchie Records and co-owning a recording studio in Manhattan.

James, Adam and Taylor started kicking around the idea of writing and recording some songs that would set Taylor's unmistakable voice against some loud guitars. They also talked about fusing the sounds of power-pop, rock and New Wave of the late 70's and early 80's, which they all loved, with the more modern rock and pop sounds of their own groups. "We talked about everything from from The Buzzcocks to The Knack," says Iha. "And, of course, Cheap Trick."

When discussing possible drummers to round out the group, they thought, according to Taylor, "Who do we know that can play drums like Bun E. Carlos?" They ran through a list of names, before realizing the obvious. Both the Pumpkins and Fountains Of Wayne had shared stages with Cheap Trick over the years. Figuring it was a long shot, but worth a try, they got in touch with Bun E. and asked if they could send him a few song demos. Much to their delight and surprise, he was into it, and agreed to come to New York to work with them. Explains Bun E., "The songs are great and I'm honored to be a part of Tinted Windows."

The result is a stripped-down, high-energy record that combines the strengths and identifiable styles of all four members, and yet doesn't really sound like anything else any of the four has done elsewhere. And with three of the four band members contributing songs, there is a real band vibe in the diversity of the material. They have shot videos for two songs on the album already, with plans to do more in the coming weeks.

S-Curve Founder/CEO Steve Greenberg noted: "When we first heard about Tinted Windows, we were intrigued by the lineup, since we've done projects with most members of the band in the past. But when we heard the music, we were absolutely blown away. This album is going to make a lot of music lovers very happy and we're honored to help bring it to the world."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Leonard Cohen Tour Dates, New Live Record Out 3/31

Everything I've heard about Cohen live is it's a rather intimate show, and the enclosed smaller space that is the Beacon Theater is perfect for that. What will be interesting is to see how something like this works in venues the size of Coachella or Red Rocks.

Tuning up for a spring North American tour, Leonard Cohen played his first show on American soil in 15 years last night (Feb. 19) at New York's Beacon Theatre. The three-hour performance featured all of Cohen's classics, including "Suzanne," "Bird on the Wire" and "Hallelujah."

Cohen, 74, broke a 15-year hiatus from touring in 2008 with shows in Canada, Europe and New Zealand. His AEG-promoted North American tour will begin April 2 in Austin, Texas, and run through June 2 at Red Rocks outside Denver. He will also make a previously announced appearance on April 17 at the Coachella festival in Indio, Calif.

In what was just the second show at the newly reopened Beacon, Cohen dazzled the sold-out crowd with a career-spanning set, backed by an ace six-piece band and three female vocalists.

He frequently thanked the audience for its devotion, and the crowd ate up Big Apple references in songs like "Chelsea Hotel" and the funky "First We Take Manhattan."

Cohen was in fine, deep voice throughout, dropping to his knees to sing "Hallelujah" and dabbling in guitar and synthesizer throughout the performance.

Columbia will on March 31 release Cohen's "Live in London," taped last summer at the city's O2 Arena.

Set list from the 2/19 Beacon Theater show:

Set one:
"Dance Me To The End of Love"
"The Future"
"Ain't No Cure For Love"
"Bird on the Wire"
"Everybody Knows"
"In My Secret Life"
"Who By Fire"
"Chelsea Hotel"
"Hey That's No Way"/"Sisters of Mercy"

Set two:
"Tower of Song"
"The Gypsy's Wife"
"The Partisan"
"Boogie Street"
"I'm Your Man"
"Take This Waltz"

"So Long. Marianne"
"First We Take Manhattan"

"Famous Blue Raincoat"
"If It Be Your Will"

"I Tried To Leave You"

"Whither Thou Goest"
"Heart With No Companion"
"A Thousand Kisses Deep"
"This Is a War"
"One of Us Cannot Be Wrong"
"That Don't Make It Junk"
"Passing Through"
"Waiting for the Miracle"
"Closing Time"
"Sisters of Mercy"

North American tour dates:

April 2: Austin, Texas (Long Center)
April 3: Grand Prairie, Texas (Nokia Theatre)
April 5: Phoenix (Dodge Theatre)
April 7: San Diego (Copley Hall)
April 10: Los Angeles (Nokia Theatre)
April 13: Oakland, Calif. (Paramount Theatre)
April 17: Indio, Calif. (Coachella Festival)
April 19: Vancouver (GM Place)
April 21: Victoria, B.C. (Save-On Foods Memorial Centre)
April 23: Seattle (WaMu Theatre)
April 25: Edmonton, Alberta (Rexall Place)
April 26: Calgary, Alberta (Jack Singer Hall)
April 28: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Credit Union Centre)
April 30: Winnipeg, Manitoba (MTS Centre)
May 3: Minneapolis (Orpheum Theatre)
May 5: Chicago (Chicago Theatre)
May 9: Detroit (Fox Theatre)
May 11: Columbia, Md. (Merriweather Post Pavilion)
May 12: Philadelphia (Academy of Music)
May 14: Waterbury, Conn. (Palace Theatre)
May 16: New York (Radio City Music Hall)
May 19: Hamilton, Ontario (Copps Coliseum)
May 21: Quebec City, Quebec (Pavillon de la Jeunesse)
May 22: Kingston, Ontario (K-Rock Centre)
May 24: London, Ontario (Labatt Centre)
May 25: Ottawa, Ontario (National Arts Centre)
May 29: Boston (Wang Theatre)
June 2: Morrison, Colo. (Red Rocks)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tinted Windows Supergroup to Play SXSW 09; Also Known as the "Oddest Combination of Musicians Ever"

My goodness, what a odd conglomeration eh, was there a rip in the space/time continum that nobody reported on? Did someone say, "Hey, let's mix together members of hit making bands from each decade and form a supergroup!" (You forgot the 80s though...I hear Brett Michaels might be free.)

And I don't even care if Taylor Hanson is the singer, I still hope we get a rousing version of "Dream Police."

Former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, Hanson's Taylor Hanson and Fountains Of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger have formed a new band, Tinted Windows.

The group has recorded its debut album at Stratosphere Sound Studios in New York, which Schlesinger and Iha co-own with Ivy's Andy Chase. The set is expected this spring on a label to be announced.

Tinted Windows will play its first major show at Billboard's South by Southwest showcase, to be held March 20 at Pangaea in Austin, Texas. (Source)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sound and Vision: My Interview with The Morning Benders

I discovered The Morning Benders after SXSW last year when I stumbled upon the slew of great indie bands out of the Los Angeles and Northern CA areas . Based out of Berkeley, CA, theirs is a sound that is most comparable to sunny Britpop but with a distinctive edginess.

Lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Chris Chu started the band by himself initially, armed with just a computer and a guitar. He then added drummer Julian Harmon, a childhood friend, and guitarist Joe Ferrell, whom he and Harmon met when they all worked at Disneyland in southern California. "Julian ran Mr. Toad's Wild Ride," said Chu, "Joe worked Pirates of the Caribbean. I was in the yogurt shop that was the only
place where you could buy pineapple yogurt." Bassist Tim Or is a more recent addition, though they claim Tim was a Disneyland worker as well. "He was maintenance," said Chu with a laugh.

Though young (all are in their early 20s), the Benders are that kind of contemplative smart that normally comes with a few years under your belt. You know how some people are said to have an old soul, where they may be young in age but seem to have a sense about them that makes them more mature somehow, sort of wise beyond their years? That's definitely one thing that kept popping into my head when talking to these four guys. I mean, how many members of rock bands typically read autobiographies of yogis and philosophy books by Bertram Russell? And all four have a wry, deadpan wit that kept me in stitches. You know what they say, it ain't the years, it's the miles that matter...

Only on the scene for a couple of years now, the Benders have already become a seasoned touring band, opening on major tours for The Kooks, Ra Ra Riot, and We Are Scientists. Having just finished a great book at about the time of our interview, (Petal Pusher by Laurie Lindeen), about a woman's experiences in a young indie band, I decided to get the Benders insights on whether the whole "indie rock band in a van" experience has changed much in last 20 years. Except for the prevalence of anti-lock brakes, air bags, and cell phones now, I think it's safe to say the answer is "Nope." It's not an easy existence, criss-crossing the country as a touring band, but The Morning Benders are clearly four guys who take their music seriously and settle in for a good laugh about the rest, all the while enjoying the ride.

(Chris Chu)

(Tim Or)

(Julian Harmon)

(Joe Ferrell)

(See the rest of The Morning Benders photos from the Black Cat show here)

((The Benders saying g'bye...)

(The Morning Benders latest release, Talking Through Tin Cans is out now, and they are currently out on tour with The Submarines. They're also playing a tons of places during this year's SXSW.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

More SXSW 2009 News...

Good news today, the the SXSW schedule of groups is posted!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

SXSW 2009 News...

Music news for your day party/night show schedules at this year's SXSW Music. No idea on specifics like place or time yet but will post as soon as I hear more...

--Rhett Miller playing an acoustic set...of covers?

I spoke to hip-swinger extraordinaire Rhett Miller after his recent show here in DC (photos forthcoming, honest!), and given the New West day party last year completely changed my SXSW outlook, I had to ask if Miller and the Old 97s were slated to play again this year. He said he will be playing a solo acoustic set at SX in support of his new album that drops that week (3/16). It's a live record, of covers in fact, recorded at Largo in Los Angeles. Covered artists include Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel ("Homeward Bound," he said), and...wait for it...Michael Buble (which confused me because I thought Buble's whole career was him singing covers...) Ah, but whatever, it's Rhett Miller singing, the man could sing the phone book and every female would swoon...

Hopefully we'll also get some of the material from his new solo record he said is coming in June, and the new Old 97s record that will follow later this year.

--Lucero joining The Hold Steady and Airborne Toxic Event at Rachel Ray's shindig...

I also had a few words about Lucero's SXSW plans this year with frontman Ben Nichols after a recent show. Lucero is playing a night show at Dirty Dog Bar but they are also playing Rachel Ray's day party this year along with The Hold Steady and The Airborne Toxic Event! As Ben sang on the latest Hold Steady record, I'd say that makes a good possibility of some intermingling onstage, you know?

--Daniel Johnston possibly...

Via the very nice people over at High Wire Music who handle Johnston, he'll be doing a night show and perhaps grace us during the day in a couple of places.

In other notes...

-- Seems PJ Harvey is heading down for a show on Saturday March 21st.

--SILVERSUN PICKUPS WAS ADDED! SSPU's new record Swoon drops 4/14 so hit their SX show early, it's going to be mobbed.

News: Ryan Adams Engaged to....Mandy Moore?

Yeesh, this is what happens when you read the NY Post Page Six every day, you learn stuff like this. Who thinks I need a more engaging day job, hmm?

But Ryan Adams and Mandy Moore, really? Am I the only one going "huh"?

MANDY Moore is engaged. The adorable pop singer was proposed to by her on-again, off-again boyfriend, singer Ryan Adams, and accepted - much to her friends' distress. As Page Six reported when the two broke up last year, Adams was not always nice to Moore and often belittled her. Moore dated another man, but recently broke up with him and got back together with Adams. A rep for Moore didn't return calls. (Source)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nada Surf Re-issue Three Studio Records on Vinyl, Announce Brooklyn Date

It's 70 degrees outside in February and Nada Surf is releasing vinyl. Life is good!

"Following the successful release of their career spanning limited edition five-album vinyl box set this past November, Nada Surf are extending their love affair with wax. On April 14th, their albums The Proximity Effect, Let Go, and The Weight Is A Gift will be put out individually on vinyl for fans of the warm crackle. The albums have been out of print on vinyl individually for many years, and Nada Surf wanted to re-issue these records and make them available to fans who couldn't get their hands on the box-set this fall."

It was also announced the band is playing a one-off show on April 15th at the relatively new venue The Bell House in Brooklyn. Tickets go on sale this Friday (February 13) via Ticket Web.

Two of LA's Finest Take on the United States: Henry Clay People and The Airborne Toxic Event Tour Starts Today

Another LA group that grabbed hold of my ears long ago is The Henry Clay People. A mixture of punk and soul, of bluesey bar rock and folk, today is the start of HCP's first tour off the west coast in support of their recent full-length release, For Cheap or For Free, one that they're sharing with another LA band we love 'round here, The Airborne Toxic Event. Armed with recent rhythm section additions and a whole lotta head-spinning energy, HCP is in no way a typical opening band, and their live shows are legendary, so it should prove for some energetic (and competitive) shows between the two. HCP is absolutely one of those bands that just has it.

You can get a advance gander of HCP live via Fuel TV's "The Daily Habit" starting tonight at 9:00 EST (and re-airing later in the evening at 12:00 am ET (9:00 pm PT), and tomorrow at 2:30pm ET (11:30am PT) and 5:30pm ET (2:30 pm PT)). They're also streaming a brand new song, "End of an Empire" on their Myspace page.

Airborne Toxic Event/Henry Clay People Tour Dates:
(All shows except SXSW w/Airborne Toxic Event)
February 11 @ House of Blues (Delta Room) - San Diego, CA ***SOLD OUT
February 12 @ Henry Fonda Theater - Los Angeles, CA
February 13 @ Bottom of the Hill - San Francisco, CA ***SOLD OUT
February 15 @ Neumos - Seattle, WA ***SOLD OUT
February 17 @ Wonder Ballroom - Portland, OR
February 18 @ Richards on Richards - Vancouver, BC
February 20 @ Neurolux - Boise, ID
February 21 @ SHO - Salt Lake City, UT
Feburary 23 @ Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO
February 25 @ Jackpot Music Hall - Lawrence, KS
February 26 @ The Vaudeville Mews - Des Moines, IA
February 27 @ Triple Rock Social Club - Minneapolis, MN
February 28 @ Schubas - Chicago, IL ***SOLD OUT
March 01 @ The Basement - Columbus, OH ***SOLD OUT
March 02 @ Mr. Smalls Theater – Pittsburgh, PA
March 04 @ The Mod Club - Toronto, ON
March 05 @ Zaphod Beeblebrox - Ottawa, ON
March 06 @ Les Saints - Montreal, QC
March 07 @ Paradise Rock Club - Boston, MA ***SOLD OUT
March 08 @ Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY ***SOLD OUT
March 09 @ The Note - West Chester, PA ***SOLD OUT
March 10 @ The Saint - Asbury Park, NJ ***SOLD OUT
March 11 @ The Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY ***SOLD OUT
March 12 @ The Black Cat - Washington, DC
March 13 @ Local 506 - Chapel Hill, NC
March 14 @ 5 Points Festival - Columbia, SC
March 15 @ The Drunken Unicorn - Atlanta, GA
March 17 @ The Loft - Dallas, TX
March 18 @ Meridian Red Room - Houston, TX
March 19 @ SXSW - Austin, TX
March 20 @ SXSW - Austin, TX
March 21 @ SXSW - Autstin, TX
March 23 @ The Rock - Tucson, AZ
March 24 @ Martini Ranch - Scottsdale, AZ
March 25 @ Beauty Bar - Las Vegas, NV
March 26 @ Glasshouse - Pomona, CA
March 27 @ Blue Lamp - Sacramento, CA

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Show Review: The Heartless Bastards/Hoots and Hellmouth @ Great Scott, Boston, MA (2-3-09)

A new soundman every night. The members of Hoots and Hellmouth are drinking away the stress of the van ride from Philadelphia, preparing to take the stage at any moment as snow continues to pile up outside when Sean Hoots, one fourth of Hoots and Hellmouth and one third of its vocal harmony, tells me about the interesting sensation of baring one's sound (and soul) every night, not just once but twice. Once being to an audience obviously, but before that, before the audience even arrives, you have to do it for an audience of one, an inevitably surly soundman. The presence of a stompboard (a flat piece of wood with tambourines taped to it, providing the bands only percussive sounds) seems to make everyone slightly wary of what the man behind the soundboard here at Great Scott, will think of them, but this wariness didn't last long. Eschewing pop hooks or ordinary country music sounds, Hoots and Hellmouth have stompboarded their way into the hearts of fans one show at a time. Hoots, and later the headliner, Kentucky's Heartless Bastards will thank the restless crowd for making it there on such a cold night. Hoots and Hellmouth might not have known it then, but they were about to play before a crowd about to become ruthlessly loyal.

It did the heart of a Doylestown boy like me good to see an "I Heart XPN" button" on Sean Hoots' guitar strap, XPN being a radio station in the Philadelphia area. The bearded Hoots, guitarist Andrew Gray, bassist Tim Celfo, and wizard of the mandolin Robert Berliner, play that sort of music that makes a cold bar in a Boston winter feel like a hot West Texas barn-raising in August. An eastern PA drawl coupled with uncomplicated progressions and incredible speeds, their set replete with wildly flailing arms and legs, made this a show that was hard to wear a frown at. The fact that their new album doesn't come out until May didn't really register with anyone in the audience, and soon, you could see the few who started out as complete strangers to their music converted, clapping along with everyone else. This is a band that's unafraid of strange looks from a rock venue soundman, or anyone else for that matter, and it shows.

Thus, the audience was geared up and ready when Erika Wennerstrom and her newly designed Heartless Bastards took the stage, all smiles between small sips at their whiskey and dark ale, and a good time seemed guaranteed. A recent lineup change and a great third album, The Mountain, released not 24 hours prior, made this a very important show for Wennerstrom, and the crowd couldn't have been more sympathetic to her cause. The Mountain is a bit different from the heady garage sound of their first two albums, and is a bold move into a sound that's more Folkways than The Black Keys. Rowdy cries from the front row were ceaseless from start to finish, even when the band didn't give 100%. Wennerstrom kicked the show off with a loud, but reigned in delivery of "No Pointing Arrows" from the band's sophomore record, 2006's All This Time. Wennerstrom's voice, that sensual country-fried howl, did most of the work and the band struggled to keep up. Though unquestionably louder than hell, The Bastards' sound felt rather reserved for a good portion of their set. Readings of "Done Got Old" and "New Resolution" off their first album, Stairs and Elevators, were rather sober, but soon the new material began to rear its head. The titular "The Mountain," "Sway," and "Out At Sea" felt more like interchangeable bar blues when stacked against the timeless production they receive on the latest album. Whereas "The Mountain" feels like the contents of an old soul given new life, their simple electric guitar dressing live made the songs seem more generic than they are at heart.

After a flat delivery of one of their better and more unique rockers, "I Swallowed A Dragonfly", I began to wonder whether they were planning to bring the rock vibe they capture so flawlessly on their records at all. For a band with maybe the greatest name in contemporary rock music, things seemed mighty slow; they were behaving more like gentleman than Heartless Bastards. Many of Wennerstrom's compositions, their jazzy augmented minor chords and drums comparable only to the fists of a boxer against a punching bag, sound tremendous and gutwrenching when blasting through car speakers. But for whatever reason, they couldn't get off the ground when they were three feet in front of me. There was hardly a guitar solo worthy of the name. Finally, toward the end of a crowd favorite, "Swamp Song", the aggressiveness began to match the volume, and the mostly static backing band (drummer Dave Colvin, bassist and pedal steel player Jesse Ebaugh, and guitarist Mark Nathan of Knife in the Water) came to life.

Three songs shy of the encore isn't an ideal place for the rocking to start, but better late than never. "Nothing Seems the Same" and "Early In The Morning" came stomping out of the previous song's feedback, and the swagger I'd been expecting all night came out in earnest. Furious blues rock, the sort the Bastards had built their reputation on, began assaulting the ears of all present. The first song of the encore brought things back down though, and Wennerstrom and Ebaugh returned to the stage with acoustic guitars to do "So Quiet", almost as if to tease the patient crowd. They finally earned their name for the night with a roaring rendition of "Into The Open", a song that seems to erupt from Wennerstrom's soul everytime she sings the chorus. Straining her already strained voice, she stepped up to take the rocker's crown from Ann Wilson, Janis Joplin, and Wendy O. Williams, her gold Les Paul glinting like a sword under the red lights of Great Scott. By the time they reached "Gray," the whole crowd, bar dregs and all, were paying rapt attention. The malaise of the first 3/4 of the set was by now a faint memory and the Heartless Bastards left a satisfied crowd behind. If they had started with "Into The Open" and kept the energy level at the peak they reach during its refrain, the show might have been one of the most awesome rock shows I've ever seen.

Listen: Sway-The Heartless Bastards

(The Heartless Bastards are currently on tour and will have their network tv debut tonight on the Late Show with David Letterman. They are also performing at this year's SXSW.)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lights That Flash in the Evening: Show Photos of Locksley and Ray Davies Show Photos, 930 Club, Washington, DC (12-9-08)

I'm trying to play catch up with a bunch of photos from shows in the last little while this week. Today's is the great Britpop sounds of Locksley. They're hyper and feverish and, as we said about them before , "It's not all pop-goes-the-fuzzy guitars though for Locksley, there's definitely some other things happening there, so be sure you listen to more than one track."

Locksley opened the show for the great Kinks-frontman, Ray Davies. If any band these days was utterly appropriate to do this, it was their head-bobbing punk-Britpop.

Listen: Why Can't I Be You (live)_Locksley

(See the rest of Locksley's 930 Club photos here.)

Theirs was an utterly proper amping up for Davies, and Davies' set proved why he's still influencing musicians who could be his grandchildren. The first part of Davies' set was him and Bill Shanley both playing acoustic guitars and covering the gambit in terms of Davies' solo and Kinks-ian catalogue. Davies is an excellent teller of the stories surrounding his life and myth, explaining what made him write this song or that song, including some interesting not-so-well-known facts (for example, the song "Come Dancing" was a tribute to his sister who died because she loved to go dancing at dance halls). He also rather candidly talked about the mugging/shooting that he experienced in New Orleans that almost killed him a few years back, and, of course, the famously acrimonious relationship with his brother and Kinks-band mate, Dave. While I enjoyed hearing him play, I must say, I think I probably enjoyed his tales more. It was all very comfortable, like the 930 Club was his big living room.

Locksley came out to back up Davies and Shanley, everyone plugged in and turned up to 11, for the encore including hits like "Lola" and "All Day and All the Night." The addition of Locksley was something really special in terms of the songs and Davies, as we watched this living legend sharing the stage and his most known songs with a young indie band, something that's not uber-common. The combination added a new life and energy to the songs, making them seem as fresh as when they were first released more than 25 years ago.

Davies, even after all these years, still very obviously loves what he does. And unlike some other performers his age who still put out records, (Mick Jagger I'm looking at you here), Davies' well for beatiful phrasing has not run dry; his songs are still creative and interesting enough that you listen to them on repeat. I know I came away a bigger fan for sure...then again, how can you not love such a witty wiseass?