Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lights That Flash in the Evening: U2, with Muse @ FedEx Field, Upper Marlboro, MD (9-29-09)

U2 is not now nor were they ever my favorite band; in fact, I think the last record of theirs I own might be Zooropa. However, U2 is the reason I am a music dork today.

Up until the 8th grade, I was pretty much listening to "whatever was on the radio.” It wasn’t like fading mill towns in upstate NY were lush with record stores or indie radio stations then (or now for that matter). Up there, you got classic rock (Dylan, Hendrix) and Top 40 (Poison, Tiffany). One day, I was trying to tune in the big Top 40 station in the area and I unknowingly turned the knob a tad too far to the left.

Instead of the Top 40 station, I tuned in a college radio station (91.5, WRPI) and heard a heavy and intense guitar riff, and one hell of an impassioned 'YAHHHHHHHH’...and I felt every single neuron in my body fire all at once.

What I had heard were the opening chords to U2’s "New Year’s Day." It was so raw...so bare...so strong...so...real. I always liked to listen to music but never had a song hit my entire nervous system quite so completely before. It was through that banshee yell that I discovered a whole new world.

The Joshua Tree and U2's explosion into the mainstream was still three years away, so U2 was only being played on college-radio at this point. "New Year's Day" started my music nerd conversion, but it was discovering The Unforgettable Fire shortly thereafter that sealed the deal-what an amazing record. I realized that there was great music being made out there that was an alternative from the mainstream of hair metal, overproduced and plastic sounds, and formulaic lyrics. Music could be smart as well as catchy, and it wasn't all from 1967, it was happening right then. And I wanted to hear it all.

That's why I was so excited at the chance to combine my latest new world, photography, with, ostensibly, the reason that this site even exists today. So I give you photos from Tuesday's U2 show here in Washington, DC at FedEx Field.

(Bono is shorter than a drum cymbal, who knew?)

(Go here for the rest of the photos from this show, and for those of the opening band Muse.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Show Review: fun. @ Jammin' Java, Vienna, VA (9-18-09)

by John Anderson, Guest Reviewer

Do you like joy?

Before we get started, there are a couple of things you should know about your humble guest blogger. Thing the First: The only shows I have ever blogged are shows that I loved. Thing the Second: I was a big fan of The Format. As a corollary to Thing the Second, I should probably also mention that I am a complete sucker for the hooks and harmonies that are a killer power pop band’s stock in trade.

By my lights, The Format were unquestionably a killer power pop band, and it was a sad day when I learned they had broken up, especially given that I had only been privileged to see them live on a single occasion (majestic though that single occasion was). The sadness I felt at the news of The Format’s breakup, however, was later countered by the happy news that fun. had risen, Phoenix-like, from the ashes. Ever since that day, I waited anxiously for news of an album and/or tour.

fun.’s debut album, Aim and Ignite, dropped last month, and it’s a power pop gem which feels like a natural extension of The Format. As such, it only served to further excite me at the prospect of their then-upcoming show in Vienna, VA. The best way I can think to describe that recent show at Jammin' Java is to employ the words Jon Stewart used in response to a Springsteen show: “Do you like joy?”

I wouldn’t presume to speak for the remainder of the capacity crowd, but joy was certainly what I was feeling throughout the hourlong set with which fun. graced the crowd. Is it even possible to not feel joy, or to not find oneself covered in goose bumps in response to soaring harmonies, more hooks than a professional fisherman’s tackle box, and a band comprised of members who not only clearly love their job but who just as clearly put their hearts and souls into their art? It’s not possible if you’re me. (Yes, I know you’re not me. Work with me here.) There’s something magical about a show which features those qualities, and I’m here to testify that there was more than a little magic in the night that Friday.

The set list included all ten songs from Aim and Ignite, and every one was extremely well received by the crowd, as well as a pair of songs from The Format catalogue, the crowd reaction to which I can only describe as rapturous:

Set: At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used To Be), I Wanna Be The One, All The Pretty Girls, Light A Roman Candle With Me, Dog Problems, Barlights, Walking The Dog, The Gambler, Be Calm, Benson Hedges

Encore: The First Single, Take Your Time

Quite possibly the best news of the night, both for those who were fortunate to witness the band’s first area appearance and, perhaps most especially, for those who weren’t able to get in, was the announcement by bandleader Nate Ruess just prior to their final song of the night: “We’ll be back really, really, really soon.”

Monday, September 28, 2009

Seen Your Video: Archers of Loaf's "Harnessed in Slums"

One of the very best things about where I did my graduate work (Raleigh and Chapel Hill, NC) was its music scene. The Triangle as it's called, has been so flush with amazing musical talent over the years, it's almost surreal. I got lucky to see Slobberbone in a local Chapel Hill establishment the size of a closet (Local 506), Whiskeytown in a Raleigh bar the size of a basement (The Brewery), and Tres Chicas, Patty Hurst Shifter, Mayflies USA in a converted garage...But the one band I would have killed to see but just missed when I arrived was Archers of Loaf.

"Harnessed in Slums" is one of my all time favorite songs from them. I would even go so far as to say "Slums" is a perfect specimen of an AoL song: Eric Bachmann's energetic and sneering delivery atop loud and brash playing, with the surprise of a mad-catchy hook where and when you least expect it.

The video for this song captures all that perfectly: AoL as the house band for a bingo game. Trouble ensues when a young whippersnapper wins, and the old folks start a riot. The old guy tipping over the table is so bad-ass!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Wrens Playing All-Request and All-New Nights for Maxwells' December Shows

As we announced earlier this month, one of our favorite bands, The Wrens is playing two shows in Hoboken, NJ in early December. News out today shows that while they may smell of Ben Gay and moth balls (Hi Charles! Hi Kevin!), they aren't curmudgeonly stuck in their ways after 20 years, they're letting the audience run the show (literally) for the Thursday, 12/3 show. The Friday, 12/4 show, they'll be playing all new tracks. Audience members are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite aging grape...or a bird who plays an instrument...or they just come as themselves.

Opening bands for each night will be "friends from days of yore." As these guys are known and liked by everyone from The Henry Clay People to Mates of State to The Hold Steady, one can only imagine who said openers will be.

For the Thursday, 12/3 show, you make the play, armchair Quarterflash. You write the set list. Yep, whatever obscure ditty from our vast catalog of 3.5 albums in 20.5 years that we normally wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot Kevin, you vote ‘em in, and we’ll…probably make you regret it.

Nope, you don’t have to be going to the show. How would we even know? And yes, you can vote more than once. Why would we care? The New Math that will be used to calculate your vote and compute our oldies set, exists where the plane of imaginary numbers is bisected by the tangent of nano-technology and will weed out your shabby attempts at rigging the system.

So tell us what songs to play and whichever get the most votes, go in the set. To do that, go to our contact / email the band page, drop us a message with a tune or two or even a whole set that, given an infinite space-time and a merciful god, you’d wanna hear us try to play. Maybe put ‘Play Drunk’ in the subject line since we’ll probably have to that night.

Voting will end…let’s say, a little over a week from now, October 3rd. Gives us two months to get it together.

As for Friday, 12/4, come dressed as your favorite wren. Balding, middle-aged Paunch Men are automatically disqualified per competition guidelines. Bird costumes, encouraged.


For that show, we’re doing all new songs. Or as many as we can muster.

Oh yeah, we’ll have some as-yet-to-be confirmed friends’ bands from the days of yore playing both shows as well. (Wrens website)

Seen Your Video: Yeah Yeah Yeah's Perform "Maps" Acoustic, With Strings in NYC

One of the acts I was especially bummed about missing at the recent Monolith Festival in Denver (thank you ever so much American Airlines) was the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, simply because I so wanted to photograph Karen O. Not only does her face have an incredibly distinct and beautiful look but her wardrobe is so unique. Sometimes "unique" onstage garb is just another way to say "tacky," (I'm looking at you Lady GaGa). But Karen O's "unique" onstage garb is so creative and cool, and she wears it all with such, well, grace.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are playing tonight to a sold out crowd at the 930 Club, and though I tried my hardest, little ol' BL&L wasn't "enough" it seems to score a photo pass. But those of you who are going, be prepared to be knocked out. Wednesday night at Radio City Music Hall, they played the amazing "Maps" acoustic and with a string section no less, with the sold out crowd singing along. Dunno if this is a one-off arrangement or you'll see it again tonight, but if so, I'm sure it will move you as much as it moved Karen O in NYC, it's beautiful.

Give a Listen: Maps (acoustic)-The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Lights That Flash in the Evening: Rhett Miller & the Serial Lady Killers @ Black Cat, Washington, DC (9-17-09)

Rhett Miller's solo show here last Thursday at the Black Cat was everything you'd expect in a Rhett Miller solo show: a set list compiled of songs from his three solo records and the eight from his other band, the Old 97s, top-notch playing, and quite a bit of hip-swinging onstage. (Should Tom Jones ever wish to hand his crown down to an indie musician, my money's on Rhett.)

What was also unexpected was just how stellar and incredibly tight his band, the Serial Lady Killers, played. When a musician has a side-band apart from the group for which he's more known, the side-band may play well as individuals but rarely does it perform seamlessly as a group; side-project musicians tend to be interchangeable so there are not multiple tours to get comfortable with each other. However, Miller's Serial Lady Killers are, in fact, the same people as when he called his band "The Believers," so they've all had time to settle in some. "We changed the name on a whim...well, my whim," said Miller from the stage.

(Bassist Greg Besher)

(Lead guitarist Tommy Borscheid)

The secret weapon of the Serial Lady Killers is most definitely the drummer, Angela Webster. Playing barefoot, it was really something to watch someone her size make that much of a noise; the power with which she hit those skins, you'd think there were two drummers back there.

(Drummer Angela Webster)

Another unexpected thing was the age range of Miller's fans. At Old 97s shows, it's mostly college kids and thirty-somethings. Here, I saw everyone from guys in their 50s, down to an 11 year old girl who discovered Miller via her dad's music collection. (What was so cool was that girl sang every word and danced the entire show. It's too bad every 11 year old doesn't have that keen a musical ear...).

The 11 year old girl who dug Miller's music first noticed him, her dad said, because she thought he was "cute." If you have 2 X chromosomes and like boys, chances are you would agree with this girl, regardless your age, 'cause well, he is a handsome dude. But when Miller's voice faltered a bit on some of the higher range notes (and I mean higher like the line 'You're the only one' during the refrain of "Come Around,") on Thursday, he cut the phrase short and added an enthusiastic "Yeah!" each time, which frankly, added an enthusiastic punch to the song. Sounds minimal but someone less professional would probably try to croak it out. "Cute" only gets you so far in terms of sticking around in the music business, just ask anyone from a 90s boy band (apart from Justin Timberlake of course). Rhett Miller continually writes great rock and pop songs, and is always happy to give audiences what they want. And that takes more than just a pretty face.

(See the rest of the photos from the show here)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Locksley Releases First Single from "Be in Love," Starts Fall Tour Dates

Locksley released the first track, "Darling It's True" from their forthcoming second full-length, Be In Love, yesterday. Carrying forward their bright fervored sound and trademark "oooo"'s that would make Paul McCartney proud, it's absolutely something you'll find yourself instantly finger-snapping and foot tapping along to. Little Steven Van Zandt called them the "Kings of Juvenile Delinquent Rock" on his radio show; we just call them instantly likable Brit-Pop.

Be In Love, out Jan 2010, is the band's follow up to 2007's most excellent Don't Make Me Wait. Read our review from that tour where they also acted as the backing band for Ray Davies.

They're out on the road doing east coast/south/south-west dates starting tomorrow.

Locksley Fall Tour Dates
* September 24: Carrboro, NC, Cat's Cradle
* September 25: Greensboro, NC, Greene St. Club
* September 26: Lancaster, PA, Chameleon Club
* September 27: Richmond, VA, Canal Club
* September 28: Atlanta, GA, Masquerade
* September 30: Orlando, FL, The Social
* October 1: Tallahassee, FL, Club Downunder
* October 2: New Orleans, LA, House Of Blues
* October 3: Little Rock, AR, The Village
* October 4: Dallas, TX, The Door
* October 5: San Antonio, TX, The White Rabbit
* October 6: Austin, TX, Emo's
* October 8: Scottsdale, AZ, Martini Ranch
* October 10: San Diego, California, Soma
* October 11: Anaheim, California, Chain Reaction
* October 13: West Hollywood, California, Roxy Theater
* October 14: Luis Obispo, California,Downtown Brewing Co.
* October 15: San Francisco, California, Bottom of the Hill
* October 18: Seattle, Washington, Neumos
* October 19: Boise, Idaho, The Venue
* October 20: Billings, Montana, The Railyard
* October 21: Salt Lake City, Utah, In the Venue
* October 23: Fort Collins, Colorado, Everyday Joes
* October 24: Denver, Colorado, The Walnut Room
* October 27: Ames, Iowa, The Maintenance Shop
* October 28: Minneapolis, Minnesota, 7th Street Entry
* October 30: Chicago, Illinois, Reggies Rock Club
* October 31: Madison, Wisconsin,Freak Fest

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Paul Westerberg's PW & The Ghost Gloves Cat Wing Joy Boys Out Today

This one went totally under the radar for me (must have been all the preoccupation with Pavement as of late), but Paul Westerberg has a new release out today. Continuing with his recent line of works from the basement, this new one is called PW & the Ghost Gloves Cat Wing Joy Boys, runs a mere 24:07, and is comprised of six separate songs (the title is made up of a word from each track).

None of the tracks commanded a "wait, gotta hear that again" my first listen through on the subway this morning (then again, it was 8:30 am and I was sharing a sardine can-packed train car with someone wearing WAY TOO MUCH Drakaar, that'll kill anyone's rational abilities for sure). But another listen to "Dangerous Boys," (woops) "Love on the Wing," with Westerberg on piano, might change all that. And to be fair, Westerberg's thing that's always knocked me sideways is his way with lyrics. That man can turn a typical phrase into something totally atypical and give it to a whole new amazing meaning. Already I've heard some interesting lines (one off the top of my head is "...ring around the rosary" from "Ghost on the Canvas," a song which appears to be a collection of Westerberg's take on colloquialisms like the aforementioned).

More on it after a proper listening session but it's available here for you to check out yourself.

PW & The Ghost Gloves Cat Wing Joy Boys Track Listing:
1. Ghost On The Canvas
2. Drop Them Gloves
3. Good As The Cat
4. Love On The Wing
5. Gimmie Little Joy
6. Dangerous Boys

Chris Taylor (Grizzly Bear) and Ethan Silverman (Lust Boys) Announce First Terrible Records Releases, Includes Taylor Solo Tracks

Not to be confused with the FL label from the late 90s, but Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear and Ethan Silverman of Lust Boys have started an indie label based out of Brooklyn, Terrible Records.
The duo has been having events for the label since at least July, but the first records to come out will be a 7-inch series of Taylor's first solo releases, and a previously unreleased song by Arthur Russell.

CANT, as Taylor has chosen to call his project, offers the aptly-titled "Ghosts." The song is a haunting underwater trip through his familiar sonic territory that is found on each Grizzly Bear release. "Come To Life" is a previously unreleased folk track written and recorded by Arthur Russell in the late '70's. Its origins are a mystery but the beauty of the song shines brightly. Initially intended for inclusion on last years compilation of unreleased folk, pop, and country tunes called Love Is Overtaking Me.

Audika Records will release the digital download of the song on 10/13. The CANT 7-inch release is limited to 1000 copies and will be available at the Terrible Records website and select retailers.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Seen Your Video: "Darken My Door," First Video Off Lucero's 1372 Overton Park Released

Lucero's first release in three years, 1372 Overton Park, comes out 10/6, and from already seeing many of the tracks performed live, I can assure you it's going to be an amazing listen. Tour dates for the 'Ramblin Roadshow and Memphis Revue' as the tour is called, start back up in earnest on 10/9, and best of all, shows will include a full horn section onstage, something they've never done before! (See the list of tour dates here).

In anticipation of Overton's release, the band held a little contest for fans to make and submit videos for each of the new tracks, and the first one, "Darken My Door," was released last week. It's...interesting... to say the least, and includes one seriously messed up and brokenhearted puppet. Something really neat about it though is that a lot (maybe all?) was filmed in and around DC; keep your eyes peeled for landmarks like Ben's Chili Bowl, the National Mall, and what I'm pretty sure is the upstairs bar of the Black Cat.

Darken My Door from Lucero on Vimeo.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Henry Clay People Start Fall US Tour

We have long loved the Henry Clay People around here (even if we've never been entirely sure if the name is in honor of the cigars or the man) and their brand of indie rock that smacks of a Cheap Trick-powered car with a California license plate. Bringing passionate playing, big meaty guitar hoooks, and a pogo-inducing sound across the mountains and prairies of the US this fall, HCP kicked off an extensive six week tour last night as openers for The Airborne Toxic Event. As we said about Henry Clay when they opened for Ben Harper here in DC this past May, Their recent opening slot for Ben Harper at the 930 Club...showing that not all opening bands are created equal. The Ben Harper audience never knew what hit them.

For many of the shows, they will share opener duties with another great LA band, Red Cortez. This trifecta on one bill is quite a coup, so get there early to see some of the absolute best of what the Los Angeles indie music scene has to offer.

Give a Listen:Switch Kids-The Henry Clay People (unreleased)

Henry Clay People Fall 09 Tour
* Thu Sep 17, 2009 - Pomona CA Fox Theater #
* Sat Sep 19, 2009 - San Pedro CA Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival ^
* Wed Sep 23, 2009 - Denver CO Ogden Theatre &
* Thu Sep 24, 2009 - Boulder CO Boulder Theater #
* Fri Sep 25, 2009 - Omaha NE Slowdown #
* Sat Sep 26, 2009 - Des Moines IA People’s Court #
* Mon Sep 28, 2009 - Lawrence KS The Granada #
* Tue Sep 29, 2009 - Tulsa OK Cain’s #
* Wed Sep 30, 2009 - Dallas TX House of Blues #

* Thu Oct 01, 2009 - Houston TX House of Blues #
* Fri Oct 02, 2009 - Austin TX Emo’s **
* Sat Oct 03, 2009 - Austin TX Austin City Limits Festival $
* Sat Oct 03, 2009 - Emo's (ACL after party)**
* Sun Oct 04 and 05, 2009 - New Orleans LA Circle Bar %
* Tue Oct 06, 2009 - St. Petersburg FL The State Theatre #
* Wed Oct 07, 2009 - Atlanta GA Variety Playhouse #
* Thu Oct 08, 2009 - Columbia SC Headliners #
* Fri Oct 09, 2009 - Norfolk VA The NorVa #
* Sat Oct 10, 2009 - Philadelphia PA Trocadero Theatre #
* Mon Oct 12, 2009 - Washington DC 9:30 Club #
* Tue Oct 13, 2009 - Boston MA House of Blues #
* Thu Oct 15, 2009 - New York NY Webster Hall #
* Fri Oct 16, 2009 - New York NY Webster Hall #
* Sat Oct 17, 2009 - Clifton Park NY Northern Lights #
* Sun Oct 18, 2009 - Montreal QC La Tulipe #
* Mon Oct 19, 2009 - Toronto ON Phoenix Concert Theatre #
* Wed Oct 21, 2009 - Columbus OH Newport Music Hall #
* Thu Oct 22, 2009 - Pontiac MI The Crofoot Ballroom #
* Fri Oct 23, 2009 - Chicago IL Metro #
* Sat Oct 24, 2009 - Minneapolis MN Fine Line Music Cafe #
* Wed Oct 28, 2009 - Vancouver BC The Commodore Ballroom #
* Thu Oct 29, 2009 - Seattle WA The Showbox #
* Fri Oct 30, 2009 - Boise ID Knitting Factory #
* Sat Oct 31, 2009 - Portland OR Roseland Theater #

* Mon Nov 02, 2009 - San Francisco CA The Fillmore #
* Tue Nov 03, 2009 - San Diego CA House of Blues #

# - w/ The Airborne Toxic Event and Red Cortez
^ - w/ Dios, Oliver Future, and lots of Lobsters
& - w/ Arctic Monkeys and the Airborne Toxic Event
% - w/ Red Cortez
** - w/ Deer Tick and Alberta Cross

First Pavement Reunion Central Park Show Sells Out; 897987 Additional Shows Added

After years of speculation, the most important American band of the Nineties is returning to the stage with the lineup of Mark Ibold, Scott "Spiral Stairs" Kannberg, Stephen Malkmus, Bob Nastanovich and Steve West reuniting for dates around the world in 2010. Please be advised this tour is not a prelude to additional jaunts and/or a permanent reunion....An evidentiary compilation release is planned to coincide with the touring sometime in 2010. (Source)

The big news around the indie music sphere today is/was the reunion show (show being singular) onsale of Pavement in NYC's Central Park on 9/21/NEXT YEAR (yup, 2010). It started at 10 am and...sold out pretty much instantly (I know, I was there. And no, I cannot believe I just bought effing tickets for something a year from now that does not include an airplane, a moving van, or the Space Shuttle Atlantis).

Do not fret not if you missed out and want to go because it seems Pavement's promoter is going buck wild with additional dates at the moment. At roughly 10:30 am, a 2nd and a 3rd date were added to follow that first Central Park show, and a 4th is rumored. (Tickets are available here, password is "zowee.")

At roughly $100 for a pair (thanks to Ticketmonster fees and such), the three shows all being mid-week, the haphazard way the shows were added like an ADD-suffering promoter went off his Ritalin ("Wait I'll add one more show! No, two more! No three!"), AND the onsale being a year in advance, the slags are numerous (and often pretty funny). I just hope Spiral Stairs doesn't choke Malkmus with his own handcuffs before the year is out. And how about that disclaimer in the announcement statement, "Please be advised this tour is not a prelude to additional jaunts and/or a permanent reunion"? Maybe this is a cash-in tour for them then, but as long as the performances aren't phoned in if you will, I say who cares. I, for one, am over the moon about finally getting to see this band live.

The remainder of the tour dates are to be announced sometime soon.

Update (4:02): 4th show was announced. Tickets are available here, password is "zowee."

Give a Listen: Cut Your Hair-Pavement

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stephen Colbert Welcomes Wayne Coyne & The Flaming Lips; Streams "Embryonic" on Colbert Nation Site Until 9/21

The Flaming Lips were on the Colbert Report last night, playing "Convinced of the Hex" off the new record, Embryonic (out 10/13). It sounds like Wayne and the boys got stuck in some 60s time warp with the Moody Blues and Ravi Shankar.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Flaming Lips - Convinced of the Hex
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Protests

"Embryonic" is available for streaming in its entirety on the Colbert Nation homepage (left nav bar, above the "Upcoming Guest" block) from now until Monday, 9/21. (However, there may be a few problems: I couldn't locate any link so I checked the Flaming Lips' blog about it. There were comments that others saw no link as well, but one poster said he found it but it was missing the last three songs. Possibly a browser issue?)

Lead singer Wayne Coyne also sat down and chatted a bit with Stephen Colbert. Did you know that the Lips's song, "Do You Realize" is now the official state rock song of their home state, Oklahoma? Nice to see Governor Henry sports some top notch musical taste!

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Wayne Coyne
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Protests

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pavement to Reunite for String of Shows in 2010. Next Up: Flying Cars!

Just when I get them off a non-stop loop in my cranium they pull me back in with exciting news...Brooklyn Vegan reports that those lo-fi lovelies, Pavement are, at long last, doing more than a simple one-off show in 2010, quite possibly a tour, and it may all start at Coachella. LA friends, I may be coming west soon...

According to reliable sources, it's finally happening in 2010! There will be multiple, possibly four, nights of shows at NYC's Central Park Summerstage in September of that year. That could be part of a tour. That could be the end of a tour, the middle of a tour, or even the beginning of a tour, but it seems reasonable to speculate that they might make their official comeback at Coachella in April.

Pitchfork is now proclaiming THEIR source says the reunion will be a benefit show for Central Park SummerStage on 9/21/10.

Well, there's the first question for my Mark Ibold interview...:)

News: DC Venue Black Cat Kicking Ticketmaster to Curb, Using Ticket Alternative

The Black Cat is a rad middle-size venue here in Washington, DC (roughly 500-800 people I'd guess-timate), and consistently books great acts. Owner Dante Ferrando has long held the respect of many because while he's a music club owner, it's obvious he's also a music fan (Ferrando had been a drummer in many of the DC HardCore bands), and acts accordingly. Be it because TicketMaster is so pricey, or to avoid giving money to the competition, I know an entire community of music fans is singing Ferrando's praises right now.

Venerable D.C. music venue the Black Cat announced today that it will stop selling advance tickets through Ticketmaster, instead switching to competitor Ticket Alternative. The change will become effective September 25, so all shows that are taking place after that date are already on sale via Ticket Alternative.

In a strongly worded release, the venue made plain the reasons for the switch: Ticket Alternative's service charges are lower, typically $2.50 or less for the vast majority of Black Cat shows; and Ticketmaster's impending merger with Live Nation.

In a conversation with DCist, owner Dante Ferrando explained that while the local version of Ticketmaster has been relatively easy to deal with versus the oft-maligned national corporation, the company's merger with Live Nation made continuing to work with them impossible. Live Nation operates several venues in the Washington, D.C. market, including the Warner Theatre and Nissan Pavilion. "It just doesn't make any sense to be handing a portion of your shows to your competition," Ferrando said.
According to Ferrando, tickets for Black Cat shows that are $10 and under will be charged a flat $2 fee by Ticket Alternative, while for tickets that are $11-$20, it will be $2.50. The Black Cat's box office will remain free of all service charges. (Source)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Silversun Pickups "Substitution" Video, Tour Dates

One of the gems of the Silver Lake, CA scene, Silversun Pickups truly blew me away when I saw them for the first time at last year's Monolith Festival. So much so that their completely packed SX set at Antones was the one I pulled out all the stops to get into. Lead singer/guitarist Brian Aubert's vocals continually intrigue me: he starts out sort of breathy and light, almost crooning, until he hits certain passages where he lets forth a gravel-laced yell that just knocks you off your feet.

SSPU's "Substitution"

If you like what you hear on record, be sure you catch them live, it's really something rad. The Pickups start their US tour today in support of Swoon, and then hit Europe November-December (dates below). Let's hope they add a DC or NYC date in there somewhere!

Silversun Pickups Fall Tour
US LEG/September 2009
-15- Grand Rapids, MI @ Orbit Room
with Manchester Orchestra & Cage the Elephant
-16- Green Bay, WI @ The Club
with Manchester Orchestra & Cage the Elephant
-18-Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium
with Manchester Orchestra & Cage the Elephant
-19- Des Moines, IA @ Hoyt Sherman Place
with Manchester Orchestra & Cage the Elephant
-21- Fayetteville, AR @ George's Majestic Lounge
with Manchester Orchestra & Cage the Elephant
-22- Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom
with Manchester Orchestra & Cage the Elephant
-23- Memphis, TN @ Minglewood Hall
with Manchester Orchestra & Cage the Elephant
-25- Little Rock, AR @ The Rev Room
with Manchester Orchestra
-26- Huntsville, AL @ Big Spring Jam @ Big Spring International Park
with Manchester Orchestra & Cage the Elephant
-28- Lexington, KY @ Buster's
with Manchester Orchestra & Cage the Elephant
-29- Johnson City, TN @ Electric Cowboy
with Manchester Orchestra & Cage the Elephant
-30- Knoxville, TN USA @ The Valarium
w/ Cage The Elephant

US LEG/October 2009
-2- Gainsville, FL @ The Venue
with An Horse
-3- Ft. Myers, FL @ Ricochet
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-4- Jacksonville, FL @ The Florida Theatre
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-5- Columbia, SC @ Headliners
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-7- Hilton Head, SC @ Shoreline Ballroom
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-9- Myrtle Beach, SC @ House of Blues
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-10- Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
with An Horse
-11- Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-13- Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-14- Ottawa, ON @ Bronson Centre
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-15- Toronto, ON @ The Sound Academy
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-17- Providence, RI @ Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-18- Clifton Park, NY @ Northern Lights
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-20- Hartford, CT @ The Webster
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-21- Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-23- Rochester, NY @ Main Street Armory
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-24- Pittsburgh, PA @ Ches-A-Rena
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-26- Toledo, OH @ Headliners
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-28- Peoria, IL @ Exposition Gardens
with Cage the Elephant & An Horse
-30- New Orleans, Louisiana @ City Park
Doors @ 10am, music from 11am-11pm. Set times TBA.

EUROPEAN LEG/November-December 2009
-November 29, 2009 - Bologna, Italy @ Futurshow Station
with Placebo
-30- Milan, Italy @ Palasharp
with Placebo
-December 1, 2009 - Zurich, Switzerland @ Hallenstadion
with Placebo
-3- Rotterdamn, Holland @ Ahoy
with Placebo
-4- Cologne, Germany @ Lanxess Arena
with Placebo
-6- Antwerp, Belgium @ Sportpalais
with Placebo
-8- Birmingham, UK @ LG Arena
with Placebo and The Horrors
-9- London, UK @ O2 Arena
with Placebo and The Horrors
-11 - Bridlington, UK @ Bridlington Spa
with Placebo and The Horrors
-12- Manchester, UK @ Manchester Central
with Placebo and The Horrors
-14- Glasgow, UK @ SECC
with Placebo and The Horrors
-15- Dublin, Ireland @ Olympia Theatre
with Placebo
-16- Dublin, Ireland @ Olympia Theatre

Monday, September 14, 2009

Poet/Musician Jim Carroll Dies at Age 60

Jim Carroll, author, poet, and musician, died Friday at age 60. If you don't know his music, you may know his book, The Basketball Diaries, on which the movie was based (to a large degree anyway). He was like a male version of Patti Smith, taking his poetry and putting it to music in 70s NY, only his, for a long time, included the back beat of heroin.

Carroll's song "People Who Died" is a blood-pumping homage to Carroll's friends who passed on, one very much with Ramones-like riffs that make you want to start pogoing from its opening chords. Drive By Truckers have been covering it as a show ender for some time now. Patterson Hood does it serious justice.

RIP Jim...

Give a Listen: People Who Died (Jim Carroll cover)-Drive By Truckers, Charlottesville, VA, 9-20-08

Friday, September 11, 2009

Seen Your Video: The Pips (Just The Pips)

Came across this bit from the old Richard Pryor Show. And those are the original Pips too!

(Thanks Josh)

Riding the Elevator Into the Sky

Riding the Elevator Into the Sky
By Anne Sexton (1975)

As the fireman said:
Don't book a room over the fifth floor
in any hotel in New York.
They have ladders that will reach further
but no one will climb them.
As the New York Times said:
The elevator always seeks out
the floor of the fire
and automatically opens
and won't shut.
These are the warnings
that you must forget
if you're climbing out of yourself.
If you're going to smash into the sky.

Many times I've gone past
the fifth floor,
cranking upward,
but only once
have I gone all the way up.
Sixtieth floor:
small plants and swans bending
into their grave.
Floor two hundred:
mountains with the patience of a cat,
silence wearing its sneakers.
Floor five hundred:
messages and letters centuries old,
birds to drink,
a kitchen of clouds.
Floor six thousand:
the stars,
skeletons on fire,
their arms singing.
And a key,
a very large key,
that opens something —
some useful door —
somewhere —
up there.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Raise the Roof" Benefit for Brooklyn Cultural Center Announced; Charles Bissell (The Wrens), TMBG, and Nada Surf to Perform

They Might Be Giants, Charles Bissell of The Wrens, and Nada Surf (acoustic), will play a "Raise the Roof" show on Wednesday, 10/28, to benefit the Northside Town Hall Community & Cultural Center in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

From The Wrens' site:

People often think of Williamsburg as full of trust fund hipsters, but the reality is that a significant percentage (about a third) of Community Board 1 is under the poverty level, and there are other major challenges -- displacement due to gentrification, out of control development, no infrastructure to support the influx of new people, environmental and open space issues, just to name a few.

The Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center is a joint project of two longtime North Brooklyn neighborhood groups, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) and The People's Firehouse, Inc (PFI.).

In the fall of 2008, after a comprehensive proposal process with New York City, NAG and PFI were awarded the rights to re-develop the former Engine Company 212 firehouse. The firehouse will now be reborn as the Northside Town Hall Community and Cultural Center and serve as home to both NAG and PFI, as these organizations continue to serve, organize, and advocate for the community.

Regular tickets are $25, VIP tickets are $75, and both can be obtained here.

Seen Your Video/Color Me Impressed: Pavement's "Shady Lane" and Pavement Overall

(Normally "Seen Your Video" and "Color Me Impressed," the latter being a segment that addresses the question, "What's so great about those guys?" are separate segments. But the video for the song today is good, as is the band, so we figured we'd combine them and do a little bit of both.)

You know when you get a song in your head and then you listen to it a few times and the ongoing loop in your head subsides? That usually works for me...usually. Every once in awhile though a song burrows its way in...WAY in. Most times it's in the form of a bad commercial jingle (I can't even look at a Mentos package now for this very reason). But sometimes, it's a lovely song with a hook so hooky that if I died right then, I'd go out smiling for sure. I'm happy to report that the song currently wedged in my frontal lobe is of the latter variety: Pavement's "Shady Lane."

I think the best way to trip someone into a love of Pavement is with a random Ipod shuffle of their records. On a road trip with a friend, who, it turned out, was a huge Pavement fan, was when I fell ass over teakettle in love. I wasn't a total neophyte, I'd bought Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain a long time ago, and listened to it a few times...then put it away. I wasn't ready. There were a few tracks I liked ("Cut Your Hair," "Gold Soundz," "Range Life"), but most of it seemed to be all noisy-noisiness, and well, I've never been a fan of true noisy-noise. But being a captive audience to someone else's driving of an Ipod (and a car), the underlying current of catchy melody that Pavement worked into that noisy-noisiness suddenly dawned on me because I wasn't multi-tasking with five other things; Pavement had my full attention. By the time the finger-tapping guitar-line of "Shady Lane" came on (my friend's favorite Pavement record is Brighten the Corners) and I heard one of the greatest rock song lines ever-"You've been chosen as an extra in the sequel of the movie adaptation to your life"-that was all she wrote. Pavement had scored one more fan.

PS: Mark Ibold? Loooove me some Mark Ibold. And I'm normally a drummer kind of girl!

Give a Listen: Shady Lane-Pavement

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Wrens Announce Two December Dates in NJ

Ah Hoboken, NJ, just the place to start off your...holiday season? Maybe not, but it will be the place to see one of our favorites, The Wrens this year. As they only seem to play as often as my trainer lets me eat mashed potatoes and ice cream (read: never), the fact that they've booked two shows anywhere, including Hoboken, is exciting to hear. The Wrens will be playing Maxwells on Thursday, 12/3 and Friday, 12/4, and tickets are on sale right now over at TicketWeb.

(Watch our video interview with Charles Bissell and Kevin Whelan of the Wrens here.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Seen Your Video: Mates of State Cover Tom Waits at Virgin FreeFest 2009

Photos and text from Sunday's Virgin Mobile FreeFest 2009 are coming right up but one great thing from it was that I finally got to see Mates of State live. The Mates ended their set with a cover of Tom Waits' "Long Way Home" that was just lovely.