Tuesday, November 24, 2009

First 230 Showcasing Bands Announced for SXSW 2010

Woot! The first 230 showcasing bands were announced for 2010 SXSW-Music. Lots of Euros and Brooklynites with this first lot it seems but a couple of goodies, including The dbs.

Full list can be read here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lights That Flash in the Evening: The Wrens @ Black Cat (11-20-09)

The Wrens came to the Black Cat last Friday as a little outing prior to their three big shows coming up the first weekend in December at Maxwells in Hoboken, NJ. Ever since discovering them at SXSW last year where I was knocked plumb off my feet from their incredible passion and power, I've made it a point to see them wherever I could. So them playing where I don't have to travel for it? Bonus!

As those Maxwells shows include a set of fan requests, a set of their entire amazing opus, The Meadowlands, and a set of new compositions, the DC show's set list was a little insight into what's to come, all tucked into their typical energetic and vigorous playing. I'm truly hoping "Leaves Ground" finds its way into the "new compositions" set at Maxwells; full of Whelan's piano, his brother's keening guitar and Bissell's loops, it's one I found on par with "13 Grand" from The Meadowlands " or "Safe and Comfortable" from Secaucus, utterly gorgeous.

While the show was great, there were a few mishaps. The sound was....well, I'll put it this way: I saw the Ramones in 1991 and the only way I could tell the difference between one song and the next was by the "1, 2, 3" that was yelled out. This show seemed a lot like that. The Wrens are a loud band, granted, and while not loud enough so that I didn't know what song was playing, their sound this night was somehow garbled enough that I couldn't tell you words at times (and I even inquired to people who were standing in front of the sound guy who said the same thing). "North to Nothing" is a favorite so I "knew" it, but at the Cat, it sounded like "khiuhiyhhihihaaaaa," I'm sad to say.

Lead guitarist Greg Whelan also had equipment issues onstage. Whelan's stage presence is the complete opposite to the human pogo stick that is his brother, singer/bassist Kevin Whelan, but when the jack on his baritone guitar cut out after the first chorus of "This Boy is Exhausted," the audience watched as the guitar went sailing to the back of the stage. (Happily, it survived to play another day.)

(The guitar just before it went airborne ...)

Probably the sweetest moment of the night was when lead singer/bassist Whelan pulled a young boy of about 10 from the audience to hit the keys during "This Is Not What You Had Planned," the last song on The Meadowlands.

At one point, Whelan asked the kid his name ("Theron") and asked the crowd to give him props. How cool must have this 10 year old kid felt hearing an entire club chanting his name? (I found out later though that his actual name was "Darren," and Whelan had obviously misheard him above the din.) Didn't matter though, the kid was beaming. $10 says you see this kid onstage somewhere in a few years.

(During "Exhausted" I think, I kept noticing singer/guitarist Charles Bissell standing up on his toes like this repeatedly as he sang. Maybe that's a new singing technique for extra power or...something?)

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

The Wrens have been around for 20 years now and they exert more energy in three songs than many bands half that age exert in three shows. It makes you wonder how many cases of Red Bull their rider includes. Whatever it is, it's fantastic, and consistently makes for an incredible and explosive show.

Friday, November 20, 2009

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Program....

Day job work deadline is beating me about the head and ears so hope to back on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monolith Festival May Cease Without Major Investors

Denver's Monolith Festival holds a special place in my heart as it was thanks to an un-asked for photo pass that I began shooting photos, something which has really changed this site (hopefully for the better) and my life overall. Monolith has never been a gangbuster money-making event but it consistently secured a good collection of known and unknown musicial acts, many who became favorites of mine after discovering them there. Plus, it was well organized and in a relaxed atmophere, held at one of the world's natural wonders, Red Rocks Ampitheater-how could you go wrong with all that?

Sadly, like many artistic-type events in a bad economy, Monolith may not be able to continue because of financial problems.


We are very saddened by the nature of this announcement but wanted to bring it to you first. We feel like we have always been very fan-centric, honest and open with you therefore it's important to us to communicate the severity of our current situation. We have tirelessly promoted and produced the Monolith Festival for 3 years now. Over the course of those three years we have witnessed some amazing performances, met a bunch of great friends and produced a very special event that filled our voracious appetite to deliver the most amazing new artists in the world. Many of you who know us know that we do this out of sheer pleasure, undesirable love of music and a vehicle to tout our admiration for hardworking musicians.

With that said, the future of the festival is very grim. A tough economic year and an opening day of chilling rain combined to put a serious dent in our humble operation. We have continued to pursue any and all options that would allow us to recover from this year and head into 2010 with full steam. At this point in time, we have been unable to secure any options. We are communicating this message to you - the fans, the media and the artists who have supported time and time again for good reason. We hope that somewhere, in our vast network of music lovers, that there may be someone with the means to pull us up by our boot straps and give us chance to continue building this amazing event.

If you have any input or know of someone who may be interested in investing in/purchasing our small but mighty event, we would love to speak with them. We have a number of options available for interested parties/individuals. For more information please contact jb@monolithfestival.com. Again, this is our last resort and we have explored just about every option that is available to us. To the folks who we still hold financial obligations to, we whole-heartedly appreciate your patience and willingness to work through this tough time with us.

A very special thanks to the fans who have bought tickets, told your friends, blogged and shouted from the mountaintops about their admiration and love for Monolith. We encourage you to continue this as it can only help our cause. We would also like to thank our loyal, generous sponsors who have been there for us year after year. Specific thanks and credit goes to Esurance who saw our vision for this event and remains the sole reason why this event was even possible.

Best Regards,

They've set up a Kickstarter sight; click widget below for info video and donation site (with rewards even!). "We set our initial goal at $38,000 which would be a tremendous start to helping us get over some immediate humps," they said. Fingers and toes are crossed here that someone (or a buch of someones) can come to its rescue because it really is a wonderful and interesting event.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bad Lieutenant Cancels U.S. Dates, Visa/Immigration Issues Cited

Last week, we announced Bernard Sumner's new group, Bad Lieutenant, was set to play four U.S. dates this week, two as headliners, two as openers for The Pixies in NYC and Chicago. Word came down today that they've had to cancel due to visa problems.

It is with frustration and regret that Bad Lieutenant reluctantly announces the cancellation of the band's four U.S. dates set to commence next week. The more stringent immigration laws and changing visa parameters resulted in an inability to process the necessary paperwork.

"We were all so very excited about coming to the States to play our new music for our American fans," said Bad Lieutenant's Bernard Sumner, "and are extremely disappointed that on this occasion, we won't have the opportunity to do so. We plan to reschedule the Chicago and New York shows along with some additional U.S. dates in Spring."

Black Gold will replace Bad Lieutenant on the two Pixies-opener dates.

Get Your Rock On This Afternoon with Wilco

Wilco will be rocking a bunch of Amsterdamnians in person, but if you'd like to be virtually rocked at the same time, the band's webcast from the Paradiso in Amsterdam starts today at 2:45 p.m. EST (1:45 CST and 11:45 PST_).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lifter Puller Catalog to Be Re-Released, Includes Live Tracks and New Compliation, Slips Backwards

Prior to coming to Brooklyn and starting up The Hold Steady, frontman Craig Finn and lead guitarist Tad Kubler were in a band together called Lifter Puller. What's interesting about LP is that you can definitely hear, in both sound and lyric, the beginnings of what become THS lurking in that noisy punk sound. (And have Craig Finn and Tad Kubler aged at all in the last 20 years? They look exactly the same. Kudos to good genetics I guess.)

LP broke up in 2000 and as of 2006, all their records were out of print, but that all changes next month...It was announced yesterday that their catalog will be available digitally for the first time on 12/1, along with a new collection of odds and ends titled Slips Backwards. Sans their self-titled debut, the rest of the re-releases will contain extras in the form of various live tracks culled from a 1998 7th St. Entry show in Minneapolis, a 2000 gig at the Black Cat in DC, and 2003 reunion shows at Triple Rock in Seattle.

A book titled "Lifter Puller vs The End Of" will follow, containing photos, lyrics, and an oral history of the band.

Lifter Puller Releases (all out 12/1)
-Slips Backwards (New-contains two live recordings from D.C.’s Black Cat in 2000 – one of the band’s final shows)

1. Secret Santa Cruz
2. Back In Blackbeard
3. Math Is Money
4. 4 Dix
5. La Quereria
6. 11th Ave Freezout
7. The Langelos
8. Mick's Tape
9. The Pirate And The Penpal
10. The Mezzanine Gyp
11. Star Wars Hips
12. Slips Backwards
13. Nassau Coliseum
14. Prescription Sunglasses
15. Emperor
16. Secret Santa Cruz (Live From The Black Cat 2000)
17. Math Is Money (Live From The Black Cat 2000)


-Lifter Puller

-Half Dead And Dynamite: Deluxe reissue, includes live bonus tracks from 1998 7th St. Entry performance in Minneapolis

-Entertainment And Arts: Deluxe reissue, includes live bonus tracks from 1998 7th St. Entry performance in Minneapolis

-Fiestas and Fiascos: Deluxe reissue of Frenchkiss 2000 debut and last studio album. Contains six live cuts from the band’s reunion shows at Seattle’s Triple Rock, June 2003)

Give a Listen: To Live and Die in LBI-Lifter Puller (from Half Dead And Dynamite deluxe reissue)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Seen Your Video: "Sweet Soul Music" by Springsteen & the E Street Band (MSG, 11/8/09)

During Bruce Springsteen's latest round of E Street Band shows, he's been playing many of his records start to finish. His was the last show played at Giants Stadium last month where they did all of Born to Run, and at the MSG show this past Saturday, they played all of The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle..

In the middle of last week, Springsteen announced he was playing The River straight though, with limited commercial interruptions at Sunday's MSG show. A double record, The River has some of the most incredible and jaw dropping rock songs Springsteen has ever recorded, ones that truly make you feel alive. As you can imagine, everyone I know that attended the show said it was something completely magical and amazing.

Somewhere towards the end of the show, Springsteen apparently saw someone with a sign that said "Sweet Soul Music," the old Arthur Conley song, and one the E Street Band hadn't played in some time. No matter, Springsteen took a notion and decided that they should give it a whirl anyway. That's the beauty of a Springsteen show, even in an arena the size of Texas, the man can still put on a show that makes you feel like you're seeing him in your basement amidst 40 people. That's also the beauty of Bruce and the E Street Band because even yelling out chord changes and with no rehearsal, an impromptu song like this by them sounds better than tons of other bands who'd rehearsed it a million times.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Seen Your Video: Dismemberment Plan's "The Ice of Boston"

Washington, DC has been home to some interesting bands of note: Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Henry Rollins, Fugazi. Jonathan Fire*Eater was located in NYC but everyone in it was from DC. Then there was this band called The Dismemberment Plan. They broke up right around the time I got a DC address so while I'd heard the name, I never heard their sound.

Recently, I met someone with ties to the band so I gave TDP a listen and...wow. If Stephen Malkmus fronted and wrote songs for Fugazi, I think it would sound a little like TDP. And given that my ears have just stopped hearing nothing but Pavement, TDP was a nice find.

TDP regrouped in 2007 for a two-night-only benefit at The Black Cat. I understand that they were known for wild stage shows and massive amounts of energy, and this video from that show seems to capture some of that. But you can just tell it only scratches the surface and they were a band you most definitely had to see live.

Give a Listen: Ice of Boston-The Dismemberment Plan
(buy The Dismemberment Plan is Terrified)

Bad Lieutenant's Never Cry Another Tear Drops Today, Announce Chicago and NYC Dates

It can never be said that ex-Joy Division and New Order member Bernard Sumner ever stops moving forward (in fact, I think the British version of the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game may be called "Six Degrees of Bernard Sumner"). You may recall that when Joy Division ended because of Ian Curtis' suicide, Sumner, drummer Stephen Morris, and bass player Peter Hook went on to form the 80s synth that was New Order. Along the way, New Order picked up guitarist/keyboardist Phil Cunningham, who was in the Britpop group, Marion. Jake Evens, from Rambo and Leroy, filled in on guitar for Marion for a few dates, and then Rambo and Leroy picked up the opening slot for a bunch of New Order shows after that. Hook eventually left New Order, Sumner then dissolved the band, and he and Cunningham hooked up with Evans to form Bad Lieutenant. (Whew!) Says Sumner, ""There is some continuity to the music I've made in the past. But this is very different - because different people are playing on it. This is just how I now want to make music - it feels right to me and I hope at least a few other people feel the same."

The debut record from Bad Lieutenant, Never Cry Another Tear, dropped today, and includes guest appearances by Morris and Blur bassist Alex James. The band announced four U.S. shows in support of Never Cry, two headlining shows in Chicago and NYC ( joined by Stephen Morris), and two as openers for The Pixies. New Order and Joy Division tracks will be played during the live shows I'm told, so stock up on your eyeliner and practice those goth pouts!

Give a Listen: Dynamo-Bad Lieutenant
(Buy Never Cry Another Tear)

Bad Lieutenant U.S. Tour Dates

Nov. 18: Park West, Chicago, IL (headlining)
Nov. 19: Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL (opening for The Pixies)
Nov. 21: Webster Hall, NYC (headlining)
Nov. 23: Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC (opening for The Pixies)

Monday, November 9, 2009

!!!/LCD Soundsystem Drummer Jerry Fuchs Dies in Tragic Accident

The NY Post reported today that Jerry Fuchs, drummer for !!! and LCD Soundsystem died early this morning from a five-story fall in an elevator shaft.

Sources said Fuchs, 34, was in the freight elevator with another male guest when it stopped three or four feet above the fifth floor. He and the man opened the door and attempted to jump out.

The other man landed safely, but Fuchs' clothing caught on the elevator as he was jumping, yanking him back into a space under it.

Fuchs' roommate, Alex Frankel, 27, said the drummer had called pals minutes before he fell to tell them he was stuck in the elevator.

"We found him in the elevator shaft," a distraught Frankel said. "He was no longer able to speak." Fuchs died at Bellevue Hospital at 3:30 a.m.

The musician's mom, Joy, said, "He touched lives. His gift for music touched many lives."

The Georgia-born drummer had been attending a benefit for The Uniform Project, designed to help the children of India's slums.

Fuchs is the second !!! drummer to meet a tragic end. In 2005, Mikel Gius was mowed down as he rode his bike in Sacramento.

Come on Pilgrim! The Pixies Give Away Four Live Tracks for Free

The Pixies and their classic Doolittle was a seminal record in my music dork trajectory, so it was super cool to hear they were going out on the road to play the thing in full for its 20th anniversary. (DC dates are 11/30 and 12/1 at DAR.)

Now lots of folks are going out now and playing their records in full (why Springsteen just did The River in full last night at MSG), but the Pixies are taking it just a step further and selling the live shows.

The Pixies will once again be recording their live shows! Available starting on the Oakland leg of the tour, you can head to the web address below to order your CD set, a download of the show, or even a 2GB USB bracelet. For now the site will ship purchases to you, but starting in New York you will be able to pick items up after the show. Pixies site

What an innovative idea. I mean, most everyone enjoys a recording of a show they attended and loved, and it makes a little cash for the artist, so win/win yes? Something else unique about this is that there are options in which to receive your show, digital download or cd, which gets shipped to your residence. The cd "is high quality, individually numbered, collectible CD set (double disc) featuring the entire live performance. The Doolittle track listing is printed on each full color, UV coated DigiPak, along with the "Flying P" logo. There will only be 1000 of these CD sets ever made for each show." Not bad for only $23.50, especially as you know the quality will be soundboard, not the muffled attempts of some guy with a microphone under his jacket.

As well, they're selling 2GB USB Wristbands that contain four tracks from the Doolittle Live tour in Europe, and five bonus videos with a cool "dashboard" interface. Purchase of one also gets you $5 off the purchase price of a digital download of any Doolittle Live US Tour show. How's that for thinking outside the box to generate revenue? Now if the rest of the record companies would follow this lead...

(You can check out list of live cd's and wristbands here.)

Want to know if you'll la la love it in advance? They've blessed me to share with you four tracks from their recent show in Paris for your listening pleasure. I'm amazed baby, and you'll be too.

Pixies Live! 20th Anniversary of Doolittle Sampler
Crackity Jones
Dancing the Mantra Ray
Monkey Gone to Heaven
Gouge Away

Pixies 2009 Fall U.S. Tour Dates:
NOV 9, 10: Fox Theater, Oakland, CA
NOV 12, 13: Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA
NOV 14: Hult Center, Eugene, OR
NOV 16, 17: Fillmore Auditorium, Denver, CO
NOV 19, 20, 21: Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL
NOV 23, 24, 25, 26 (special 1:00 AM show): Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC
NOV 27, 28: Wang Theatre, Boston, MA
NOV 30, DEC 1: DAR Constitution Hall, Washington, DC

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rumored Springsteen Autobiography Deal Could Fetch $10M Advance

From today's NY Post:

The Boss is going to find out if he was Born to Write. Bruce Springsteen is said to be quietly working on his autobiography. Publishing insiders are already panting for the book -- even though there is no manuscript yet. "It could be the biggest rock music autobiography of all time," said one insider at a major publisher, who did not want to be named. "He could get $9 million to $10 million for the world rights."

Springsteen has already been the subject of a few bios written by his unofficial historian, David Marsh, who is married to Springsteen's co-manager Barbara Carr. It could not be learned if Marsh will be involved in this book. "Springsteen is a better writer than Marsh," said our source. Springsteen is, however, said to be interested in hiring a researcher to assist him.

If there is a bidding war for the book, insiders expect it to eclipse the $8 million advance scored by Rolling Stone Keith Richards from Little Brown or the $4 million advance that Broadway Books paid Eric Clapton. The Boss, who recently turned 60, has kept voluminous journals throughout his career. They will serve as the basis for the book.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

TVTOTR's Kyp Malone Guest DJ's NPR's "All Songs Considered," Appreciates Kermit the Frog

TV on the Radio guitarist Kyp Malone was a guest DJ recently for NPR's 'All Songs Considered. He talked about his new project, Rain Machine and played some interesting favorites including Kermit the Frog's "Rainbow Connection." The podcast is available for download here.

Weezer Releases Official Weezer-Logoed Snuggie. Purchase Includes Copy of "Raditude" and One's Dignity

Rivers Cuomo loves his Snuggie, and wants you to share in that love. Weezer announced today that it has released an official Weezer Snuggie. Yes, that is the 'blanket with sleeves' one sees for sale on late-night infomercials, but this Weezer-logoed one is complete with a free copy of the group's new release, Raditude! It's not clear whether or not this Weezer Snuggie is the 'Wild Side' leopard-print one favored by Cuomo, but really, your dignity is already out the window the moment you don one, so does color really matter at that point? :)

Alternative rock band Weezer and Allstar Products Group, marketer and distributor of the Snuggie, America's favorite "blanket with sleeves," have joined forces to create the official Weezer Snuggie. It will be launched today and will bear the band's trademark "Weezer" logo. This latest addition to the Snuggie collection will allow fans of the band to stay warm while keeping their hands free to rock out. And rock out they will; fans who purchase a Weezer Snuggie blanket will also receive a copy of the band's brand-new album, Raditude, as a bonus gift.

The Weezer Snuggie will be available for $29.99 for purchase online. It arrives around the same day as the band's latest album, Raditude. This new offering sees the band trying a brand-new approach, choosing to collaborate with a wide variety of musicians, songwriters and producers. The result of this collaborative effort is a collection of songs that amplifies Weezer's musical trademarks- deep-digging pop hooks and raucous rock riffs- while at the same time breaking new ground for the band. Raditude features appearances by Lil' Wayne, Jermaine Dupri and even a host of traditional Indian musicians.

From the subtly ironic but club-worthy "Can't Stop Partying," to the gleefully lascivious classic arena-rocker "The Girl Got Hot," to the sleek electro groove of "I'm Your Daddy," to the slow-building, anthemic "Love is the Answer" and the clanking, Motown-flavored "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To," Raditude, like Weezer, is full of thrilling surprises. As lead singer Rivers Cuomo says, "It sounds like a roomful of people having a great time."

The Snuggie blanket was featured at New York Fall Fashion Week in September, where models graced the catwalk in some of the latest Snuggie designs, such Snuggie Wild Side in zebra and leopard print, Snuggie Soft Rose for breast cancer awareness and limited edition Snuggadelic Snuggie in funky tie-dye print.

The Snuggie blanket is more than a fun idea, impulse buy or kitschy TV ad; it is a truly innovative and ultimately functional product. It's made of lightweight, soft fleece that keeps people of all ages warm indoors and out, with large, roomy sleeves allowing for free movement. It answers a basic need shared by many - staying warm and comfortable while having hands free to do what you please - channel surf, snack, read a book... or crank up the volume on your favorite Weezer song.