Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Say Yea!

"you're stuck in my mind, all the time"

incredible stage presence for the band (lead singer has this harry connick jr look, crossed with a bryan ferry aura to him) cool stage setup (very kraftwerk), neat lighting, great songlist and tight set (pretty much everything you'd ask for, with nice pacing), band is very good (i really loved the dual drumming), good crowd (very packed, thank goodness for the wall). great show.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Atmosphere v. Korgis

Just listening to the first Korgis album in the car tonight. Realized that Atmosphere totally lifts the hook from "Young N Russian" for their song "You" (from When Life Gives You Lemons....") Should have noticed that ages ago. Check your hard drive and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Do Not Open Until......

Hold Steady

Broken Social Scene



Cedar Cultural Center, April 6, 2010

i’m a fan o’ farlo. nothing much more to be said to it. their boozy, street busker anthem stuff hit my sweet spot upon first listen of Reservoir (i liken them to a less ambitious Arcade Fire- in only the best way), and improved with each subsequent listen. so to say, i was looking forward to a return live engagement would be putting it mildly. And they did not disappoint. They were charming, energetic and relaxed (lead singer Simon Balthazer maybe a little too low key) playing to the crowd and themselves with nary a sign of rock act arrogance (see JC two nights subsequent). Playing most of Reservoir, a couple new tunes (something about Simon’s hometown in Sweden and a rather longish work in progress about a street preacher) and an old tune made new by Record Store Day (“You Are One...”), they did a nice job with the song selection, mixing in some of the slower more dramatic songs with the upbeat fare (truly, i promise to start keeping a set list for shows). They kept the momentum going, but also gave themselves room to play with moods and texture, much to the crowds’ entertainment. And of course, they had the crowd at the Cedar bopping along to "Harold T Wilkins", just short of actual pogo-ing craziness. Nice show and a nice start for a band that is definitely deserves your attention. (and i wasn’t the oldest person there by a long shot, which is always nice)

Opening acts deserve a little mention too:

Robert Francis perked up my ears with his rootsy rock songs. Nothing new in the style department, but the songwriting overcomes the influences and "Junebug" and "Nightfall" definitely stood out for me during his set.

Lawrence Arabia’s "Apple Pie Bed" has been in heavy rotation since the show, and a couple others from Chant Darling might follow. Course, i love beatlesque pop, so no surprise there, but he does it well. but seriously, where did the Prime Minister’s come from? why do they look so familiar? Am i so obsessed with the EF clerks?

A Madonna Celebration

no, not Glee, although i'm sure i'll have to watch it. ("c'mon, sit down and watch"). Instead, today i listened to the new(ish) madonna collection, Celebration. It's not a chronological collection (i'm a big fan of those), but a "Look, See! My newer stuff is still important!" sequencing, by mixing her classic hits with her more recent stuff (and then some utterly forgettable 90's stuff). Mostly, what i'm thinking is this collection shows where she quit being relevant (1989). Oh sure, she had an accidental hit here and there (mostly thanks to her au courant producers rather than songs), but pickings are pretty slim after Like a Prayer. In fact, with most of her stuff in the last decade, you'd be hard pressed to tell if it's Madonna or Brittney Spears. And although i'm not picking on Brittney, that's pretty sad. Madonna, Prince, U2. Where have all the cowboys gone?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Wish That We Could Talk About It

Is LCD Soundsystem the new Moby (or the old Moby as the case may be)?

This Is Happening

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Et Tu, Douche?

I’ve got something for all you concert a holes. You know who you are:

the super tall guys who start on the sides of the crowd and then migrate to the center during the show. Halfway through, they’ve created a great wall of tall obscuring the band,

the cutters, who arrive just as the curtain is going up and plant themselves right in front of you,

the down town dress-up boys who think they can dance (but you know you can’t, right? yes, it’s a free country, but really, don’t dance, ),

the drunk and surly bloomington jefferson chicks who sing along to every song; loudly and woefully flat,

the ubiquitous pack-back kids (and their counterparts, the suburban purse mothers), i kinda have to appreciate your ability to hold space, but if i had nimbler fingers, i’d feel no remorse about picking your proverbial pocket in recompense for the bruises on my stomach

the smelly long haired dancers who CAN dance, (but really need to get acquainted with a shower, seriously, no medical studies have shown a link between using anti perspirant and cancer, so it’s ok to have some personal hygiene)

the back peddlers who spend the entire show moving you back into the crowd so they can establish more personal space in front of themselves

PDA offenders (please make out with your skanky girlfriend/boyfriend in the parking ramp stairwell after the show like any other self respecting sleazeball)

and my most hated of all concert douches, the encore stage rushers (even cattle don’t stampede like that)

For all you DBags, may i present to all your self centeredness:

Julian Casablancas, King of the Douche (is there a plural here? or are they all just one entity?)

First Avenue, April 8th. Out of the gate i could have smacked him; for his preening smugness, the johnny carson bow when he walked on the stage (you just haven’t earned it yet, baby), the oh so cool, it’s all about me aura.
But he was just getting warmed up with his sincere insincerity. it’s always a bad sign when the ARTIST says “you are our favorite audience, and we don’t just say that to anyone” cos you’re pretty sure they do. (and i promise i’ll pull out too)
But he wasn’t done, over the next barely an hour show, he went on to express his love for all: Minneapolis, you’re the best (and st. paul too), i love the twin cities, kudos to the band (who really needs a first rate band playing the crap out of some second rate songs?) without really ever mentioning the band members’ names or really acknowledging them.

He even played peacemaker (well, maybe not exactly peacemaker, more like public shamer), when he pointed out a scuffle in front of the stage. “it’s a rock show....stand in back if you don’t want anyone touching you” gee thanks Julian. great work, great work, that settled everything down. i wonder how much of a rock show (and was it really a rock show?) it would have been if the water bottle that was thrown on stage would have connected with his royal casablancasness (and no, i didn’t throw it, i have too much respect for water)

and the music? dude needs a fistfall of more songs. 11th dimension and river of brakelights got the crowd hopping, but Phrazes isn’t enough to tour on (he played that stupid christmas song to fill out the set) mostly, it was a snoozefest full of boring ludlow street crap. (if this is what he’s like when he’s NOT drinking, i don’t wanna know...and i’m digging little joy and nickeleye all the more) Other than Hard to Explain and an old b side, he ignored the strokes (which is pretty much all the crowd wanted anyway). Kinda funny that the crowd did a steady exit during the show. i’m thinking that it wasn’t because they needed to go out for a smoke.

quite frankly, i’ve never grown to dislike a performer so much over the course of a show (and i was no opinion veering to the positive with regard to JC before the show). Jules...if you come back (and i’m not asking, nor will i be there) bring more songs to back up the blather (or bring your real band and maybe i’ll go).

Monday, April 12, 2010


I thought it would get better. Give it a little time. Sit back and let it age and maybe it would seem less like a waste of time. or at least less disappointing. or a whole let less annoying. but it's been awhile now, and it hasn't gotten any better, even sitting in the rear view mirror for a month. i'm pretty sure i can say The Big Pink stink.

First Ave, march 18, 2010. I was pretty excited for this show. Stumbled across A Brief History of Love last summer and i played it to death during the SoDak trip. Poppy, with a little (more than a little) touch of the jesus and mary chain, echo and new order (hell...pretty much every 80's band i loved). I was kinda bummed that i missed the November show. So here was my chance, and.....meh.

Too much bombast, flash and showmanship. Bombast i could kinda see (Slight Case of Overbombing anyone) But damn, this disc has some great songs on it. Lets see a little something different live, right? No. Album arrangments was all we got. Dialed up to 12.

Maybe i'm just partial to the just let the songs play themselves and lets not jump on any speakers philosophy. But it all seemed too much. And Guitar Solos? against a wall of sound production? probably not so much. unless you are full of yourselves. (but at least they were having fun, weren't they?)

Hopefully they learn that sometimes maybe a little restraint lets it all show through that much more. and they have some lovely slower songs (love in vain and crystal visions come to mind) that would sound great with the feedback and mix dialed down to give the show some texture. didn't happen.

Everything was mid tempo drunken lurch songs, everything was set against the limit. It was ALL spinal tap levels with even Velvet and Dominoes getting lost in a sludge of noise. and played as if they were trying to make it all melt. (don't get me wrong, i like my noise, but i'd sorta like some dynamic range too, isn't that was makes My Bloody Valentine so amazing?) i'm sure the drunk girls a row in front of us loved it, but me? not so much.

and pacing didn't save them either. i don't know why bands plunk a bunch of slow songs in the middle of their set. the guys are high on something, right? they really shouldn't need a break and and sure as heck destroys any momentum they had going. give me a slow one to open the show, give me a slow one before the encore. save the rest unless you really know what you are doing.

Now, lest i get too cranky old man, let me say that At War with the Sun sounded great. The band stepped back and let the tune come throug.h and a new song they played, title of which escaped me, sounded great too, ensuring of course, that we'll have to pay attention to them again, for a single at least. i wish they had done that more. I understand you have to over do it with Dominoes (although i was still secretly hoping for a discofied version) but i expected so much more. and got so very very little. i was pretty glad they didn't do an encore.

and maybe some of the blame should be tossed to A Place to Bury Strangers. they put me in a bad mood with their opening set. we were a little late (Wire-ing i'm sure) but by the time we got there, all we got was 25 minutes of loud monotonous feedback, strobing lights, and rock star poses. no songs. no nothing that would make me ever want to see these guys again (and i actually enjoyed Exploding Head). nice little eff you to the audience i'm sure. but eff you guys too. i'm sure your back pack audience will spend loads of money on your music, and i'll just keep my 11.99 when your next one comes out.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Traveling Without Moving

This will come as a shock to people, but i'm not a patient person. One of the hardest things for me to do is sit tight and wait. I know, I know, good things and all, but I must move. It's the shark part of me. Even if i'm not particularly going anywhere, keeping the oxygen flowing is a necessity. So this weekend has been tough. Tree pollen counts are high so i can't really hang outside, planes are late, so i'm stuck at the gate, somebody is busy doing taxes and whatnot, and my local haunts seem diminished of late. I'm boxed in, i'm trapped, and i must be patient and wait for a better day.

But i haven't been totally idle. ELO (Balance of Power) and Dr. Dog (Shame, Shame) kept me company at the cell phone wait area Friday night (and a little bit of the twins radio broadcast). I'm kinda partial to BoP, yes, Jeff Lynne is recycling himself to the nth degree, but it's easy pop and there's a lyrical undercurrent to most of the album that signals the end of an era (and not just ELO). ELO always means the high school to me and i can't help but flash back to those days whenever i hear a super multitracked vocal (even apples in stereo does it to me) Kind of got lost in the reverie waiting for the plane, reminiscing (older times we're missing...) I think i wrote some copy about ELO in one of the yearbook editions, and i know i was jealous of a couple of my co-writers getting to go to the TIME concert at the Met Stadium. Sigh.

Dr. Dog has been growing on me. It's no Fate and that's probably its curse to my ears, but there are a few songs that are starting to call attention to me (black eye especially) and i really love the bonus track It (and i know it is some affliction of mine that always make me think a bonus track is better than 90% of the actual album. And i'm sure the show next week (am i going?) will shine a positive light on some of the other Shame, Shame tracks.

Saturday, i barely left the house (other than cupcake and mountain dew runs) because of allergies (when will the pollen be over) and sitting tight until the taxman was done, but i was productive. I logged 7 (SEVEN!!!) episodes of Breaking Bad (four from season two, three from season three, so i'm caught up) Killer show, and maybe that should be enough, but the producers are kinda Wire-Like crafty with there song selection. To say more would be giving things away, but when you watch (and you should for a whole host of reasons) don't forget to listen to the songs. (i also caught up on Flash Forward and Fringe. both occasionally spin some kinda good tunes, but they also veer into Grey's Anatomy pretty quickly. Not saying, just saying.

Oh yeah, during one of my runs, i listened to Fang Island. Definitely worth a spin. definitely.

and today? Hmmmmm. i started out waiting for things to happen, then i got impatient and headed to the gym. then i got even more impatient with sitting still and drove right by the gym. and drove and drove. and i guess i missed out on a good thing (i'm sorry man) and i really didn't end up going anywhere, but i did get a lot of music listened to. Totally in love with the new National single ("i still owe money, to the money, to the money i owe" and i might have to look into this surfer blood band. still kinda sure the new hold steady is gonna be a disappointment (based on the songs i've heard) but they are still fun in the car. and i like that Dan Black song a little more each time i hear it. and ok, i played sheena easton's greatest hits (up to a point, there's really nothing to hear after Sugar Walls even if you are a fan----and how the hell did that ever get played on the radio? sheesh) hmmm. what else, some chills (some of heavenly pop hits, but lots of brave words) Men Without Hats (really they have more than The Safety Dance, really), Andy Gibb (i dunno why either, maybe it's an ELO thing where i relive my past with this stuff....and of course, here's hoping the millenium collection flips quickly too) a little phil seymour (found a copy of his first one and there are YOU GUESSED IT, bonus tracks!!!!) and then finished up with some J. Geils (Just Can't Wait is a near perfect new wave song...hell, the keyboard fills sound like the Attractions). Nice drive, and thank odg for air conditioning. my sinuses feel so much better for being gone.

Upon my return from aimless driving (come a long way, come a long way....and never leave LA) i hit the gym for a run on the treadmill (continuing the theme, see?) 4 miles. music of choice? passion pit. Sleepyhead always kicks in when i need it the most.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday Night Pickin'

seriously. not trying to make this a once a week thing. it's been a hectic week (and a little bit stressful)and i've been involved in a music blog project (that will be forthcoming) but just so you didn't think i didn't love you, i'm posting (in the sweltering minneapolis spring heat wave)

first off, fanfarlo is a go for tuesday night. tickets procured. and cedar avenue is kinda scary sometimes.

next off, nice music picking tonight (for not even meaning to).

had to run off to cheapo to return a disc that skipped (doesn't happen very often, but i really need to start looking at the discs before i buy them).

basically, i exchanged jonny greenwood for the animaniacs soundtrack, but one thing led to another and i hopped, skipped and jumped across the big three. here's my haul and what it set me back:

bob welch three hearts remastered-8.61
van morrison hymns to the silence-10.75
storyhill miles and means-1.03
soundtrack animaniacs-3.21
split enz time and tide-8.72
split enz frenzy-8.72
split enz see ya 'round-8.72
split enz conflicting emotions-8.72

i know, i do they keep putting out these van morrison discs? whatever. it works for me. already played the bob welch. it has a french version of precious love. shawn will be in heaven (although i'm sure he's never heard precious love before...but at least he knows who fleetwood mac is, although i'm sure he only knows the stuff they did after bob left.
also pretty excited about the split enz discs. they are remastered from 2006. not tons of bonus tracks (boo-hoo) but the sound should be a great improvement over the cds that have been floating out there for years. (and i can't rightly say that i've heard all four albums from start to finish ever)

must off to music listen now. later gators.