Thursday, April 29, 2010

Punk Rock, Now With More...Glee?

I'm a fan of creative and innovative takes on music. Do some approaches just baffle me, like "How on earth did they come up with that choice?" Indeed. an 8th grade choir covering a song about fellatio for instance. Or a glee club covering a punk song like Fugazi's "Waiting Room."

Blue Ribbon Glee Club out of Chicago, are a "punk rock glee club" and they cover stuff like Fugazi, The Pixies, T. Rex, and others. That's right kids, you can buy a Ramones shirt at Urban Outfitters and punk has now gone glee. Of the two, I definitely prefer the latter.

Blue Ribbon Glee Club Covering Fugazi

Fugazi Doing Fugazi

Fugazi as a Remix

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Seen Your Video: "Hundred Million Miles" by The Whigs on Jimmy Fallon

Call it a late April Fool's prank I guess (or maybe just to get folks to stay up late and watch)...We were told yesterday that The Whigs were covering an old Meat Loaf song on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night, but what they played was "Hundred Million Miles" from the new record In the Dark....weird. Maybe the same hacker who unleased all those new releases last week from PlayMPE was at it again? Maybe the band was drunk emailing in some NYC bar yesterday? Doesn't matter though, live, The Whigs can rock (or RAAWK if you're Whigs lead singer Parker Gispert) whatever they play with gusto.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Here's an Interesting Reason to Stay Up Late...

Three skinny guys from Athens, GA....Fans of making a ginormous sound onstage. Has a drummer who plays so hard that he should not play next to a snowy mountain because he might inspire an avalanche.

Big man from Dallas, TX. Equated with one of the biggest selling records of all time and annoying people who like to air guitar and act out lyrics in bars. His name was, at one point, "Robert Paulson."

What do they have in common?

I dunno either but we can find out this evening. Apparently, The Whigs will be shaking things up on late night television this evening by performing, "I Would Do Anything For Love (...but I won't do that)" by Meat Loaf on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

No fooling...And The Whigs make everything good. But how odd a choice is that??

The National Announce Summer Tour Dates

The National have a lovely new record, High Violet, coming out on 5/10 and they announced a slew of tour dates in support of it today. (DC date is at DAR. Again. UGH.)

(And I promise this site is not becoming "Between Love & Like, A site about the tour dates we love".)

The National Summer 2010 Tour Dates
26-27 MAY: OAKLAND, CA - FOX THEATRE // w/ RAMONA FALLS (27 sold out)



(On-Sale 01 May - 10am EST)
03 AUGUST: ROYAL OAK, MI - ROYAL OAK THEATRE // w/ THE ANTLERS (Venue Pre Sale Wed 28 April @ 12:00 PM / General Sale 30 April - 12:00PM EST)

11 SEPTEMBER: REDMOND, WA - MARYMOOR AMPHITHEATER w/ OKKERVIL RIVER (Pre-sale 29 April @ 10:00 AM PDT / General Sale 01 May @ 10:00 AM PDT).

Monday, April 26, 2010

Gaslight Anthem Announce Mid-Summer Tour Dates/NYC Record Release Show

Gaslight Anthem's new record American Slang drops 6/15, and if you're in NYC that night, you would do yourself well to attend their release party at Irving Plaza (tickets go on sale to the general public here on Friday, April 30, at 10 a.m. EST).

I've just started working my way through American Slang, and though I haven't heard anything that grabbed my ears immediately like The '59 Sound's "Miles Davis & The Cool," I hold out hope. Definitely digging some of lead singer/guitarist Brian Fallon's lyrical abilities though ("I'll tell you fortunes in american slang" has become one of my favorite lines thus far). Plus, I think this record may be one of those whose tracks you should see live before passing any judgement. Gaslight is a kick-ass band live, and bands like that can make tracks that are just "meh" on record, come alive and sparkle super pretty in concert.

Speaking of concerts, Gaslight announced a bunch of dates for mid-summer today, including a tremendous show in Detroit with The Hold Steady and The Whigs. Fingers crossed for a DC date in August!

Mid-Summer 2010 Gaslight Anthem Tour Dates
15 - New York, NY - Irving Plaza *

14 - Toronto, ON - Sound Academy *
15 - Detroit, MI - The Fillmore (special lineup also featuring The Hold Steady and The Whigs)
16 - St. Louis, MO - Pop's *
17 - Kansas City, MO - Midland Theatre *
20 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre *
21 - Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern *
22 - San Jose, CA - "Music in the Park Series"
24 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre *
26 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue *
27 - Chicago, IL - House of Blues *
28 - Columbus, OH - LC Pavillion *
29 - Philadelphia, PA - Great Plaza at Penn's Landing *
31 - Providence, RI - Lupo's *

01 - Montreal, QC - Osheaga Music and Arts Festival
02 - Boston, MA - House of Blues *

* = w/ Tim Barry and special guests

Pre-order for American Slang kicks off tomorrow, 4/27 at all the usual suspects (and here). The iTunes pre-order features two additional bonus songs: a new track, "She Loves You," and an acoustic version of "American Slang."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Speaking of The Hold Steady, A Great Piece by Craig Finn

A buddy randomly found this piece written about The Hold Steady's new record, Heaven is Whenever yesterday on The Hold Steady's concert page for the famed Minneapolis venue, First Avenue. Beautifully written by HS lead singer Craig Finn, it's a rumination about the band's evolution to now, in terms of recording and what keeps them moving forward, as well as a touching and humble thank you to the fans that have made it possible for them to get to this point, their fifth record. Let's hope when Finn stops making records, he starts writing short stories or something because it's obvious he can do more with prose than just song lyrics.

This wasn't included in the liner notes of the vinyl version of HIW but let's hope it's included in the liner notes of the CD when it's released 5/4...it would be a total shame if it's not.

During our time as The Hold Steady, I've made a lot in interviews and onstage monologues about what little ambition we had when we started this band. We weren't sure if we would play shows or release records. We had seriously managed expectations. But in the end, we did end up playing shows and releasing records, and we are better people for it. We've seen a lot of the world, met a ton of great people, and played a whole bunch of rock and roll music. Our efforts have been rewarded beyond our wildest dreams. It's not exactly a mind-blowing statement when I say that this is the best job I've ever had. That said, there are sacrifices and discomfort that come with this territory: busted relationships, distance from family, physical exhaustion, disconnection from civilian life, ringing ears, interminable waiting around, trying to get through a ninety minute show when you have food poisoning, etc.

Our new record, Heaven is Whenever, is about struggle and reward. It's about accepting suffering as a necessary part of a joyous life. It's about how love can help us rise above these struggles. It's about faith. It's about how bad it hurts to settle for less. It's about not being scared to try. It's about four guys who still believe in the power and glory of rock and roll. Because even after a thousand soundchecks, a thousand load-in and load-outs, fifty missed birthdays, and a few hundred electrical shocks, our reward still vastly outweighs the struggle. In fact, the reward would not exist without the struggle. Thus, this struggle is inherently part of the reward. And in this way, the fantasy of playing rock and roll for a living is a lot like real life.

It's hard to pinpoint when we started making this record, but I think the genesis was when Tad was doing a score for a film in early 2009. He started laying down some song ideas in the studio and sharing them with us. I started writing lyrics and at one point we even set up a makeshift studio in the back of our tour bus to record demo vocals. We spent our down time in the Summer of 2009 making demos in our rehearsal space. Songs started to pile up, and it was time to hit a proper studio and start making an album.

We tapped Dean Baltulonis to produce the record. Dean had produced our record Separation Sunday and is an old friend. We headed upstate to Dreamland Studios in West Hurley, NY. Isolated and surrounded by amazing Autumn beauty, we spent two weeks living on site, playing music, drinking beer, and standing around the grill. We hit a few things that we had already demoed, but also jammed on a lot of new stuff. One memorable night is captured on the last song on the album "A Slight Discomfort". Tad did a few guitar tracks out on the front lawn that night, and you can hear the chorus of crickets chirping from the surrounding trees as the record draws to a close. We also talked our friend John Reis into coming out from San Diego and jamming with us for a few days. He played a bit of guitar on the record and helped write the song "Rock Problems".

After we left Dreamland we hit the road for a little bit, which gave us the opportunity to try out new songs in front of an audience. When we returned to Brooklyn, we hit our rehearsal space with a vengeance. We reworked some of the new stuff and wrote even more. We soon repaired to Wild Arctic Studios in Queens. We've done a lot of work at Wild Arctic in the past and it's a very comfortable place for us. We did a number of shorter sessions at Wild Arctic throughout the Fall and Winter of 2009. The record was starting to come together.

We broke for Xmas and wrapped up recording in January 2010. We began mixing and faced the usual heartbreaking decisions about which songs would and would not make the record. We mixed and remixed. We sequenced and resequenced. Finally, we turned it in, about six months after we started. It felt good to be done, but it also felt good to know that our time and perseverance had paid great dividends. I think we made something that is both different than our previous releases, yet unmistakably a creation of The Hold Steady.

Heaven is Whenever is our fifth full length release. This is both cool and a cause to stop and think, as there are some inherent truths in any fifth record. For one, the band has to stay together long enough to last through the first four. Secondly, an audience has to be interested enough to encourage the band to make album number five. And third, the band still has to have something to say that it feels that it hasn't said before.

I just went through my record collection to see how many bands I love never made it to a fifth record. I realized that most of the bands that mean the most to me had indeed made it through five and sometimes beyond: Led Zeppelin, The Clash, Thin Lizzy, REM, Creedence, etc. In some ways, album five implies a commitment and dedication and a realization that the band's success is not a fluke, and that it's not going anywhere. Albums like Physical Graffiti, Combat Rock, Fighting, Document, and Cosmo's Factory are all fifth records that show their creators confident and brimming with new ideas. In many cases, peaking. While I am not going to compare our record to any of these masterpieces by my rock and roll deities, I am proud to unveil Heaven is Whenever and add it to our body of work. Five records in seven years. Not bad.

The title of this record comes from a lyric in the song "We Can Get Together", which states "Heaven is whenever/We can get together." In the end, that might say it best. The most amazing part of this life is the opportunity to share music with a supportive audience. It is not lost on us that people make sacrifices of their own to see us perform. They spend money on tickets and travel, they get baby sitters, they take time off work. It's an honor for us to be a recipient of this kind of dedication. So when we say Heaven is Whenever, we mean that the greatest of rewards is our privilege of being able to tour and share our music and our lives with yours.

Thank you for being a part of this.

Craig Finn

The Hold Steady Announce New Tour Dates with The Whigs, Provide NewAlbum Stream

Still no Washington, DC date in the mix, which stinks (especially given that The Whigs are opening this group of dates), but The Hold Steady did announce additional dates today for July.

July 2010 Hold Steady Dates
2nd - Hayward, WI Lac Courte Oreilles Casino
3rd - Minneapolis, MN Cabooze Outdoor Stage
4th - Minneapolis, MN First Ave
6th - Omaha, NE Slowdown
7th - Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
8th - Santa Fe, NM Santa Fe Brewing Company
10th - Dallas, TX Granada Theater
11th - Memphis, TN Hi-Tone Cafe
12th - Knoxville, TN The Square Room
14th - Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
15th - Pontiac, MI Crofoot Ballroom
16th - Toronto, ON Kool Haus

Probably as a premptive strike, knowing how many low-quality rips of the record would start flying around after Saturday's Record Store Day release of the limited vinyl the band has been streaming their new record, Heaven Is Whenever, over at NPR since Sunday. The National is following suit with their new one, High Violet, which starts streaming over at the New York Times on Friday,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Wrens Announce Two New Shows for May

With the long-awaited followup to 2003's Meadowlands slowly coming along (no really, The Wrens are in the studio right now as we speak, no joke), it seems the band has decided to keep up the momentum from last year's various celebrations of their 20 years together and four full- releases by doing a couple more shows in May. You can hear singer/bassist Kevin Whelan's voice ring through the rafters of the First Unitarian Church in Philly on 5/21, or through the dirt and beer scum at Sonar in Baltimore on 5/22. Says they:

Maybe “national” is a stretch. Ok, even “tour” is a stretch. But with two consecutive nights’ shows booked for the first time in at least one SXSW ago, (Philadelphia, May 21st at the First Unitarian Church and Baltimore, May 22nd at Sonar), this, for us, constitutes a tour.

Even as I type this, bags are being packed, family farewells are in the offing, estate planning is under way, personal papers are being put in order, a tour bus has been arranged (SEPTA via NJ Transit), smoke-machine-repairpersons have been hired, vast amounts of road drugs have been grown, refined & processed…

[Clarifier: road drugs in our case being pretty much packaged snack foods (think: donuts) turning the dream cliché of “sex, drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll” into more like “conceiving legitimate children within the bonds of marriage, donuts & enthusiastically-performed song-craft in the rapidly-aging rock‘n’roll style”. Again, for us at least.]

But what better way to ease back into touring than a wren-breaking two-day itinerary spanning as many cities, in neighboring states, over 90 miles apart?

We sincerely hope to see you there

Free Band of Horses Downloads from Forthcoming Release Infinite Arms

Band of Horses is offering a free download of "Factory" and "Laredo" from their forthcoming record, Infinite Arms, out 5/18.

Downloading "Factory" also enters you into a contest to win a pair of limited edition Band of Horses Lakai skate shoes and a custom BOH Girl brand skate deck.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Superchunk Announces Four Tour Dates

Superchunk doesn't tour as much as it used to but it seems their incredible 2010 SXSW performances may have roused the band's touring jones. While it's not a full on tour, they have announced four upcoming dates, including one at the CAT'S CRADLE in Chapel Hill, NC. Given that Superchunk is from there, let's just say that a) you should look at getting tickets right this second because it will sell out in minutes and b) wear something really lightweight because the Cradle will be packed to the gills.

They're also playing a festival in Omaha, NB which sounds worth the trip as additional acts performing include Old 97s, Spoon and The Faint, with more to come. Superchunk did a couple of new songs at SX, let's hope these aren't the only dates to come forth...

Superchunk Summer Tour Dates
May 21: Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC
May 27-29: Primavera Festival, Barcelona, Spain
June 19: Westword Festival, Denver, CO (with Dirty Projectors, Neon Indian, and others)
July 24: Maha Music Festival, Omaha, NB

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Good High This Year: Set List from Pavement Show in LA (4-15-2010)

So Justin over at Aquarium Drunkard knows how to make a day start off awesome. He and I are Facebook buddies and I happened to see he posted this today, the set list from last night's Pavement show at the Fox Theater.

Holy hell fire, lookit all that! I scored Wednesday tickets for their NYC shows in September and was wondering,"Dang, do I really want to go to NYC mid-week, miss work, blahblah?" Based on this list, I believe the answer is "Oh hell yes."

See the rest of the dates here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hey You in LA...Go See Spoon for Free Tonight

Are you in Los Angeles today? Do you like yourself some Spoon? It seems they're playing a free mini-show tonight at 6:45 pm on the Jimmy Kimmel Live outdoor stage.

Tickets are still available (and did I mention FREE)? Go here for tickets and info.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Record Store Day This Saturday (4/17)

This Saturday (4/17) is the third Saturday in April so that means... Record Store Day!! Conceived in 2007, it is a "celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally." Not only is RSD great because it helps showcase and support independent record stores, but it also lets artists put out some unique and interesting items (keep reading if you're a Hold Steady fan...) Today's NY Post had an interesting article giving some of the details.

Feeling groovy isn't what it usedto be. CDs, iPods and flash drives have pretty much replaced vinyl platters and diamond needles.

Yet even in these digital times, some discerning listeners have kept vinyl from extinction. Saturday, on what's known to some as Record Store Day, such collectors -- who still have turntables -- will get their due.

The format is the star of the third annual event, at which highly collectible vinyl records -- made exclusively for the celebration -- will be for sale at $5 and up.

Among the highlights is the "John Lennon Singles Bag," a $25 package that features three 45s: "Mother," "Imagine" and "Watching the Wheels" -- backed, respectively, by Yoko Ono's "Why," "It's So Hard" and "Yes I'm Your Angel." (A "45" is a 7-inch record popular as late as three decades ago, which features two singles and is played at 45 rpm rather than the standard 33 rpm.)

What makes the Capitol record particularly collectible are the details -- assorted postcards and a 2-by-3-foot poster of the couple's bed-in for peace; here, they're wearing pajamas and holding flowers to protest the Vietnam War. There's even a plastic adapter hub, in case your turntable doesn't play 45s.

The Flaming Lips make a strong showing with a $25 cover album of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." After opening with the familiar heartbeat drums of the original, the psychedelic rockers take the music on a more propulsive and experimental tack.

Familiar songs such as "Breathe," "Time" and "Brain Damage" are updated with twisting ragged guitar work and fragile vocals.

The Rolling Stones get in on the act with a 7-inch single titled "Plunder My Soul," a previously unreleased track from 1972's "Exile on Main Street" album. Suggested price: $12.

This is as funky as the Stones get. With terrific guitar work by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger's vocals easily reaching the upper register he's lost over time, this single ranks among the best Stones music to emerge in years. A remastered track of "All Down the Line," another cut from "Exile on Main Street," is on the flip side. It's a preview from the CD and vinyl re-release of "Exile," due May 18, which will have 10 never-before-heard tracks.

Other vinyl rarities include music by Bruce Springsteen (a 10-inch vinyl with "Wrecking Ball" live at Giants Stadium), Modest Mouse, Elvis Presley, the Sex Pistols, Gorillaz and the Velvet Underground.
They forgot to mention a bunch of cool label samplers coming out as well. You can see the full list of all of the special items being released here.

And if you like The Hold Steady and have an itch for their new record, Heaven is Whenever, they're releasing a super limited hand screen printed vinyl edition, two weeks in advance of its official drop date (5/4)!!

Participating Record Store Day stores in the DC area include....

Washington, DC
-CD Warehouse
-Crooked Beat Records
-Melody Record Shop
-Politics & Prose Bookstore
-Red Onion Records & Books
-Som Records

-Baltimore: !El Suprimo! Records, Dimensions In Music, morphius.com, Sound Garden
-Catonsville: Trax on Wax
-College Park: cd.gamexchange
-District Heights: Memory Lane CDS and Records Inc.
-Frederick: blinding sun records,Platters That Matter Records
-Hillcrest Heights: Kemp Mill Music
-Silver Spring: cd.gamexchange, Joe's Record Paradise
-Temple Hills: Kemp Mill Music
-Towson: celebrated summer records

Northern Virginia
-Fairfax: Record & Tape Exchange
-Falls Church: CD Cellar
-Vienna: Vienna Music Exchange

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fourth Hold Steady Single From Forthcoming Heaven is Whenever Released

8869_The Hold Steady @ Virgin FreeFest 2009 (8-30-09), originally uploaded by BetweenLoveandLike.

The Hold Steady dropped another single from the forthcoming Heaven is Whenever on Friday. "Barely Breathing" makes the fourth single the band has released prior to the record's drop on May 4. I'm liking this new one, it's a little different sound that the wall of guitar we've heard in the last couple of singles and...there's a clarinet! And keyboards! For some odd reason, the first adjective that popped into my head was "film noir," possibly because of its bouncy, jazzy sound.

Maybe they're planning a single a week up to the drop date? Whatever it is, grateful fans are uber happy about it.

Stream a Listen:Barely Breathing-The Hold Steady

Superchunk Talks to the Village Voice

I'm super sorts of slammed with a day-job deadline today, but wanted to share this mighty cool video interview that the Village Voice did with Superchunk's Mac and Laura after Superchunk's awesome Village Voice SXSW day party set.

Friday, April 9, 2010

She & Him Interviewed on ABC Amplified

She & Him is one band who played a bunch at SXSW this year and yet...I always wound up missing them for one reason or another.

ABC Amplified did a nice interview with members M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel recently that touches on her musical history (she's been singing/writing songs since she was 8), if her husband, Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, contributes to her songs (no, he doesn't even hear them until after they're mastered), and the possibility of a "She & Him-Volume 3" (yes). It also includes some live footage from their SXSW performance at Cedar Street Courtyard. She & Him's overall goal with their band? "We're trying to make the greatest hits from a secret band that never existed," says Deschanel.

Slobberbone/Drams' Brent Best Wanting to DIY Next Solo Record With Fan Donations

Slobberbone was a band with a body of rock, tires of country, and engine of punk. Another great band, The Drams had a similar body and tires, but its engine ran a bit more on pop. The driver in both of these two bands? Singer/guitarist Brent Best.

Slobberbone reunited for shows in 2009 and proclaimed a new record to come out in 2010. I haven't seen any updated news on The Drams in awhile (sadly).

But it seems Best is cleaning out the closets and wiping the slates clean, proverbially speaking, before gearing up for work on the new Slobberbone record, and in a wonderfully DIY way. He's looking to put out some unreleased solo material and pay for it all via donations from interested parties, one $10 donation at a time. In return, donors get a limited edition personalized copy upon its completion.

Says Best, "I've come to realise that the biggest gift over the last many years of doing what I do only starts from getting to share my work with those who would receive it, but more importantly, for me, becomes the relationships, and often all-out friendships, that so many have chosen to share with me in return. This is where my satisfaction comes from, not the spectre of throwing it out to the world at any cost and seeing what can be gained. I've already gained more than I ever imagined. It's you guys I want to continue with."

Additional details and donation info is below. Best writes some damn fine songs (and this is an interesting business model), so let's hope it's a success!

So's I've been ruminatin' for a while now as to the status of a number of unreleased songs of mine, 'solo material' as the suits might call it and and in light of our desire to return to creating new Slobberbone material in the near future I feel the time has come to put the hammer to the anvil and get these out. A few of these songs you might have heard me perform live the last few years, some I've never played outside my house and some have never left their hard drive. They've marinated long enough, methinks. With that in mind, I've decided they should be recorded all proper-like, in a real studio (I love my kitchen but it's time to get out) and with a focus on craft and not brevity. Addititionally, I would like to eschew the traditional means of funding and distribution we've employed in the past and be able to deliver it straight to whoever may be interested upon completion. My only barriers to this end is the time needed away from work and other concerns, and the funding.

Here's what I'm proposing: that you, or anyone who'd like to participate, become that avenue. I believe this can be fairly simple and that excites me enough to help allay some of the aggonizing I've had that this might seem basely oppurtunistic to some. It's not. I've come to realise that the biggest gift over the last many years of doing what I do only starts from getting to share my work with those who would receive it, but more importantly, for me, becomes the relationships, and often all-out friendships, that so many have chosen to share with me in return. This is where my satisfaction comes from, not the spectre of throwing it out to the world at any cost and seeing what can be gained. I've already gained more than I ever imagined. It's you guys I want to continue with.

So now I make this offer, to those and only those who would feel no weirdness about it: help me make this record. For a $10 contribution, you will receive a limited edition of this record, to be recorded later this summer, shipped to you upon completion, personalised and with your name on it. Whew... okay here's how it can work: you participate either via Paypal or with a check or money order. Most important will be for you to provide your complete name and shipping information. Paypal provides for this but please make sure you enter it and it is correct, and update it if you should move. Same thing with a mailed check or money order: please enclose your full name and mailing info, along with phone and email if you'd like. This will facilitate me compiling a master list of all donors and to be able to keep you up to date on the production, and also provide you with access to some web-based extras that I'll post along the way. For Paypal, send your donation to brentdbest@yahoo.com, for check or money order, mail your donation to Brent Best, 1901 Redwood Pl, Denton, TX, 76209. Upon receipt, I will send you a notification confirming your participation along with additional updates to follow.

I am excited and a little twitchy. Also a little gassy at the moment but that usually goes away. I look forward to looking forward. And when it's all said and done, let's all have a drink.

Verily and with big smoochies,

brent best

Give a Listen: Unhinged (live)-The Drams/Buy Jubilee Drive

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Who Dat? We Dat! A Big Fine Giveaway of CDs from Artists on the Preservation Hall Benefit Record

Day 2-Voodoo Experience Festival, New Orleans, LA (10-31-09)-2511, originally uploaded by BetweenLoveandLike.

The Preservation: An Album Benefitting Preservation Hall and the Preservation Hall Music Outreach Program record came out in February and it was chock full of incredible contemporary musicians doing classic New Orleans songs with the great Preservation Hall Jazz Band.

Tom Waits proclaimed "Tootie Ma" to be a big fine thing on it, but what's bigger, as well as finer?? Why free records of course! As a way to say thanks to some of the artists involved, as well as showcase their individual work, our friends at 'Stache Media gave us a package of the latest CDs from seven of those artists to give away. The artists/releases in the package are...

Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons-Death Won’t Send a Letter
The Del Mccoury Band-Family Circle
Julie and Buddy Miller-Written in Chalk
Steve EarleTownes
Andrew BirdNoble Beast
My Morning JacketEvil Urges
Jason IsbellJason Isbell and The 400 Unit

To be eligible, post a comment below telling us the one thing you like the most about New Orleans, and we'll choose a winner at random. Contest ends Thursday, 4/15 at midnight, EST. (Sorry European friends, US mailing addresses only).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Seen Your Video: Fitz and the Tantrums do "Breakin the Chains of Love"

A lot of the "blue-eyed soul" or "white soul" I've heard is good; a majority of it is borderline boy-band dreck. But stop the presses, I have found a band that does white soul with heavy dollops of 60s Britpop, and booooy, is it gooood.

As I mentioned yesterday, I discovered Fitz and the Tantrums after seeing their name as the opener for Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings' New Years Eve show here in DC. Armed with a Hammond B3 organ, a killer combo of horns/bass/drum, and a knockout voice in his backup singer, Mr. Fitz and company put on quite a show. His voice, ladies and gents, is truly live and not Memorex.

Upon reading about my seeing Fitz and the Tantrums at SXSW this year, and listening to the track I included, a friend proclaimed "I think my ass just became self-aware and started moving all on its own." This band from LA has a wonderful energy, and is reminding people that blue-eyed soul can be hip and modern, not sequestered to the wasteland of soft rock radio and Hall and Oats records from the 70s.

But Songs for a Breakup/iTunes

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Hold Steady Announce First Ever Beacon Theater Show/Onsale

The Hold Steady announced tonight that they will be playing the most awesome Beacon Theater in NYC for the first time on 10/7. The Beacon is a great venue (Leonard Cohen played there on his last tour to give you an idea), so if you get the chance to go, be sure you do.

Presale for the 10/7 date is tomorrow (4/7) at 10am, password "Heaven," here. Public onsale is Friday, 10/9, at 10am. Ticket info for the rest of the dates can be found here. The 4/16 show in Harrisburg, PA is sold out.

What's strange though? No mention of the 4/17 NYC date yet. It was published 4/1, Broadway World, was this your April Fool's Day prank this year??

Roving Reports of Rock and Roll: SXSW 2010-Day 1 (3-17-2010)

I love attending SXSW-Music every year. Like a four-day summer camp, you get to catch up with people you only see once a year, stay up late, and learn new skills; at SX, that's usually geography (finding your way around downtown Austin), race-walking (getting from one venue to another on foot in the least amount of time), and the art of balance (writing legibly in a notebook, while holding a camera AND a beer). Unfortunately for me, the subtitle to this this SX was, "If It Can Go Wrong, It Will." (My direct flight had issues-not the flight itself, but rather my place on it. Fyi, that "check in online in advance" suggestion for Southwest Airlines is not a suggestion but the way you ensure you have a seat.) So while my travelmates arrived in Austin at 11:30 am, I didn't get there until 4:30 pm, making me effectively miss all of Wednesday's day parties (a primo way you can ensure that you catch all of the bands you hope to see at SX). Because Southwest Airlines reaaally wanted me to see Kansas City and the tarmac of Dallas/Ft. Worth, missing these parties also meant I missed Zeus, Freelance Whales, Cymbals Eat Guitars, and Real Estate, grrr. (However, the upside was that Southwest refunded my flight in full, so, partial win...)

As such, I was stressed out when I arrived, but all of that fell away the moment I walked outside. DC had been cold and rainy and gross when I left, so taking in that gorgeous Austin weather was an immediate spirit lifter from the get-go. When I finally started my stroll down E. 6th Street to my first band of the day/night, I let out a deep exhale and shrugged the day's irritants off; "rock and roll spring break" was about to begin!

1. Ivan & Alyosha at St David's Bethel Hall

It seems that the easiest way to listen to the 1,000 or so submitted mp3s of bands who are attending SX is as a torrent on an iPod. Not only is it the easiest, but also the fastest and most objective way to make cuts. As the music at SX spans the genres, you do hear a lot of stuff that makes you go "meh," so when you come across those gems in the midst that still have you listening beyond the 30-second mark, you know you have a keeper. And that is exactly what Ivan & Aloysha's "Easy to Love" did, as well as warming my ears and filling my heart.

The lead singer has a voice that put me in mind of Jeff Buckley, ethereal, yet powerful, and filled with emotion. Theirs is a swelling and soaring type of indie rock poetry set to music, with lovely harmonies, and singed with singer-songwriter lyrics.

But, also like Buckley's band, Ivan & Aloysha does rock in a touch-harder key just as well. Based out of Seattle, I truly hope they make the trek east at some point.

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Sometimes the submitted mp3 is the best track a band has, with the rest more "filler." But live, Ivan & Aloysha, I'm happy to say, is full of aural amazements.
Give a Listen: Easy to Love-Ivan & Alyosha/Buy The Verse, The Chorus

2. The Walkmen at Stubbs
(Crowd watching The Walkmen at Stubbs)

I've tried to see The Walkmen live about three times now, and each time, for one reason or another, I've been unsuccessful. (They originate from DC, so I had to show some love.) When I saw they were playing SX this year, I was determined to finally make it happen between me and them. So I ran over to Stubbs, which was, as usual, packed. I thought it odd when an employee told me the photo pit was "upstairs;" turns out she'd sent me to the VIP balcony instead (God, how I love SXSW).

The Walkmen were energetic as a whole, their sound reaching the far back of the circle that is Stubbs' outside area. The lead singer was prone to leaning mighty far back to belt out notes, and oftentimes, I wondered if he might fall over.

And then they brought out a group of horns. I'm a girl who loves herself some horns so The Walkmen's graceful swaying sound paired with horns? Grand, just grand!

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Give a Listen: Another One Goes By (live at KEXP 2006)-The Walkmen/Buy A Hundred Miles Off

And then I received the text telling me Alex Chilton had just died. The highlight of this year's SXSW, and something many of us were looking forward to, was to recognize and celebrate the pop beauty and contribution to such that was Chilton's band Big Star, complete with a full reunion show to close out SX on Saturday. And Chilton was only 59. So sad...

3. Broadway Calls at Headhunters

During SX, I've noticed band venues are often in the last place you'd expect: pizza places, Mexican restaurants, art galleries...or, as was the case of Headhunters, a two-story walk-in closet that came with a bar. Ok, not really, but I've honestly never been in a place so small. And Broadway Calls has a sound so big it could blow the doors off a huge venue, so believe me when I say that between the band's sound, and the massive swarm of kids amped up and moshing on the floor that they shared with the band, the sliding wood door to the place almost came off its hinges. How instruments and band members didn't get knocked over in the process is surprising because when I say they shared the floor, I mean, literally just that: that was no stage, no platform.

But the band seemed perfectly happy being part of the melee, clearly enjoying the chaos that their powerful punk pop invoked.

Me, toting my Nikon, I was glad to be engaged in it all from the safety of the staircase. But just being in the room allowed you to experience what a joyful and exciting noise it was, the perfect antidote to the sad news of Chilton's passing. Broadway Calls takes three chords to make some great fist-pumping pop punk, complete with sing-along choruses. Green Day, Broadway may be calling you to its Great White Way, but don't be surprised if Broadways Calls takes over the reigning punk sneer while you're gone.

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Give a Listen: Midnight Hour-Broadway Calls/Buy Good Views, Bad News

4. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings at Stubbs

The Stubbs venue typically has the most popular acts during SX so the line to get in is typically long. But for Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings the line wasn't just long, it was loooong (and for a comparison, it wasn't like that for The Walkmen-sorry guys). It seems soul may be taking (back) over because I'm sure every SX attendee was at, or trying to get into, Stubbs for her set. I definitely think every single photographer was, given the supreme jam-packedness of the photo pit.

This makes the second time I've seen Jones and the Dap-Kings, and it's such a great experience, they are so utterly bad-ass live. Jones seems to be almost single-handedly exposing a whole new generation to that wonderfully big, deep, and raw sound that was Stax and Muscle Shoals.

The Dap-Kings just kind of hung back and let Jones lead the charge (I love the lead-in by the band, playing for a few minutes, then introducing Jones, like they used to with James Brown. No cape, though she did sport a dress that would have made Tina Turner and Grace Kelly jealous). And though Jones may front the band, it's never just her in the proverbial spotlight. The bass and horns play off her voice as her soulful and emotive timber weaves around them, and both sides connect in a way that only experienced musicians and long time band mates can achieve.

While Sharon Jones may have been 20 years older than the average person in the Stubbs crowd, she definitively proves that age is nothing but a number, and some things, like grace, style, and good music, are timeless and only improve over time.

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Give a Listen: I Learned the Hard Way-Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings/Buy I Learned the Hard Way (out 4/6)

5. Findlay Brown at Galaxy Room

I'd heard a bit of the Brit, Findlay Brown, and his slightly-twangy and smooth "Wall of Sound"-esque style, and live, he holds up.

But only getting 90 minutes of sleep the night before, I was starting to falter a bit. Yes Mr. Brown, everybody does needs love, but what I really needed about then was a more driving sound to keep myself standing vertical, so I had to go. However, I will be sure to see you the next time you're through DC. PS: Love the Elvis 'do, btw...

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Give a Listen: I Had a Dream (acoustic)-Findlay Brown/Buy Love Will Find You

6. We Were Promised Jetpacks at The Parish

The Parish is one of the bigger venues at SX and this year, it housed the Scotland Showcase. One thing I love about seeing Scottish/English/Irish bands playing in the States is how excited and supportive their country's ex-pat brethern get during a show. Maybe it's because it's a little bit of home or something, but whatever the reason, their enthusiasm is always so darn infectious. This was the definitely the case for the latest indie darlings, We Were Promised Jetpacks.

The Jetpacks' music is quick and pulsating, and the crowd's reaction made their playing sharper (or so it seemed). Many of their tracks put me in mind of Boy-era U2 in terms of drums and thick guitar sequences.

And it was good-for a few songs. But after a while I noticed a definitive pattern and honestly, it began to sound like the same song again and again. But you couldn't knock the crowd's excitement; it was probably the most psyched-up group I saw all SX.

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Give a Listen: Quiet Little Voices-We Were Promised Jetpacks

7. Fitz and the Tantrums at Galaxy Room Backyard

I've been listening to the blue-eyed soul of Fitz & the Tantrums since December when I got the info that they were opening for Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings on New Year's Eve here in DC. I loved what I heard, so when I saw they were on the SX schedule, they were marked as a definite must-see. The Stax label, including its house band Booker T & the MGs, was heavily influenced by the British version of "blue eyed soul" or "white soul," so whomever did the pairing of Jones and Fitz together was genius.

The Tantrums definitely give the Dap-Kings a run for their money style-wise, as well, being one of the better dressed bands I saw while in Austin. More on the pop side of soul, as opposed to Jones and the Dap-Kings' R&B side, if the Tantrums can rock a tent this well, I'd love to see what they do in a true nightclub. Many of the songs have these incredibly-hooky choruses that you'll find yourself mindlessly humming days later (and I was).

Though it did start 15 minutes late, I was pleased to see that their live show definitely holds up to the recorded version. Both Fitz and the female backup singer, who did not stop moving the entire time, have pretty incredible voices you just have to hear. You want energy? You want to dance? You want joy? Do not miss Fitz & the Tantrums. They were one of the most enjoyable acts I saw over my four days in Austin, definitely falling within my top 5.

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Give a Listen: Winds of Change-Fitz and the Tantrums/Buy Songs for a Breakup

My 1am hour was supposed to be with Surfer Blood. But their venue was an uber bad choice for a latest "It" band (the second floor of a bar, the access to which was to the left of the band playing and its crowd on the first floor. "Clusterfuck" only slightly describes it correctly). So I joined one of my travelmates for a band from Spain, The Right Ons, and boy, was I glad I did.

8. The Right Ons at Barbarella

What was most apparent to me about this band from Spain who played American rock and roll, in English, was that they didn't do it halfway. Even at 1am on a Wednesday (well Thursday actually), they were playing like their lives depended on it. A little bit of garage punk merged with a heavy dose of soul, The Right Ons are like Wayne Kramer got a mohawk and started playing with Sly and the Family Stone at school in Spain. No way I could fall asleep on my feet with this band.

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It was so cool to see this band wind up a crowd to the point where every person in the place was dancing. Did I mention it was 1am on a Wednesday (ok, Thursday)? If they can achieve that in such a setting, imagine what a regular venue setting would be like? Moral of the story-a) catch The Right Ons if they're playing the States, b) rest up, and c) bring your dancing shoes. At the very least, let yourself pogo. And don't be surprised if the lead singer jumps into the crowd and pogos right along with you.

Give a Listen: