Friday, August 31, 2007

Form & Content: Together At Last

Or Why the National is My New Interpol

When I first started listening to music, I tended to look for something not to like. I don’t like the singer’s voice. I don’t like these dissonant guitars. I don’t like these lyrics. Now thankfully I look for something to like, since first impressions can be so unpredictable. (Oddly, often times the song I least like on an album initially will become my favorite. There’s something about being challenged, breaking down the pieces and making sense of them, that allows me to take such joy in the reconstructed picture.)

My criteria for acceptable music have changed over the years as surely as my grade school criteria for men: “Has to be Catholic, have good teeth, and like Mexican food.” (Several years later, I can attest that Mexican food, at least, still has a grip on me.) My early music checklist probably looked something like this: “Has to be weird but not too weird, has to have a pleasing aesthetic, has to have good lyrics.”

The latter of the three tended to be the deal breaker. This meant phenomenal bands like Sigur Rós took some time. After initially attempting to form words (English words, at that!) out of Jónsi Birgisson 's Hopelandic gibberish, I gave up. I had to redefine how I listened to music, how I appreciated music, and I haven’t been that same sorry girl since.

So yes – shock! – music most certainly is the essential component of music. Hold your snickering, please. I still argue that those lyricists who pen impeccable poetics will forever hold the biggest power over this listener. Hear me out.

I blame it all on the fact that I’m an English teacher. It’s that whole bit about form and content working together to create an overall tone/theme. A classic example: In the song “Let Down,” as the form of the song (how it’s conveyed – aka the music) spirals into madness and despair, the content (what the song’s about) mirrors that impending madness as Thom Yorke repeats the nonsensical phrase, “You know where you are with.” Thom’s losing it so much he’s lost all notion of proper grammar, which to this listener at least conveys total lunacy.

The interplay of form and content is precisely why a band like The National has me all in the tizzy. In “Green Gloves,” when Matt Berninger sings in his smooth bass, “Out of touch with all my / friends are somewhere getting wasted,” the word “friends” must serve double duty to complete both sentences. Beyond that, it seems Berninger is so out of touch that he cannot complete the sentence in which he is asserting this point – which, of course, ensures that his point is asserted. Call me crazy, but this type of wordplay is the closest thing to this listener to the sublime. Plus the music kicks ass.

Interpol is playing KC next month. I am at best ambivalent. It’s not because they have suddenly burst onto the mainstream scene (although that's a small part of it). It’s not even just because the band’s overall aesthetic has changed (although that’s a big part of it). It’s because as Interpol move away from the dark dissidence of Turn on the Bright Lights – their form – they seemed to have taken content on a cruise, too. Oh Paul Banks, where are the obscure lyrics of yesteryear? When will you once more hold my sentimental side with kid gloves? When again can we be together in the jungle and it will be OK? The band will never write another “The New,” “Leif Erikson,” or “Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down” musically or lyrically, which means the Interpol I fell in love with are all but dead to me.

I am definitely more open-minded about music these days. I fall in love easier with new music, but it seems I’m also less able to forgive and forget when an artist fails to live up to their potential. My love’s a (finnicky) pony, you could say. Better yet, a bucking bronco.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Watch This Now!

I saw this video on Brooklyn Vegan and just had to re-post it for your pleasure. Seriously funny. The first 30 seconds or so aren't much to look at, but be patient.

I now present to you: Daft Hands!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Day's Odds and Ends

Okkervil River on Conan!
Watching Okkervil River performing "Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe" on last night's Conan O'Brien was a little surreal. In the four years that have passed since since I was first hipped to them I've seen them transform from a band that was playing the Jackpot in Lawrence and crashing with the guys from Minus Story every other month to headlining their own tours in much bigger places. I've seen their albums go from unnoticed to overlooked to now, sadly, a little overhyped (but only a little, I assure you). But in all seriousness, kudos to Okkervil River. While playing Conan doesn't guarantee success, it certainly can't hurt. The performance sounds like it was great if you were in the audience, but on YouTube its a little muted. Oh well, here's hoping they'll get back to Lawrence sometime soon, even if it isn't at the Jackpot.

Free Download Alert: Boo & Boo Too/Baby Birds Side Projects
Other than Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk guitarist and occasional Boo & Boo Too collaborator Drew Gibson, I'm not exactly sure the people that are behind the masks or the music that makes up this Bramble Thrash/Don't Ride Your Elephant to School split LP. Fans of Jesus and Mary Chain and Deerhunter will probably enjoy the Bramble Thrash half, while those in favor of more ambient noise will probably prefer the Elephant half. The album is currently available to stream and download on Virb.

New Band of Horses Song: "Is There a Ghost"
I vaguely remember the Horses playing this song on a sweltering August afternoon while opening for Modest Mouse. At the time I was completely nonplussed, as the heat and humidity were winning the day over just about anything other than (a) drinking water and (b) surviving. Hearing the recorded version was a much better experience, though I can't help but feel that they're just a less jammy version of My Morning Jacket. But perhaps that's the appeal to begin with, that they're like My Morning Jacket but without the jamming. Eureka! Anyhow, the new song is available to download from the band's MySpace page, or from this very blog by clicking on this link, where you will be whisked away to a different site that is kindly hosting the mp3 for us. I assure you that its there, just look below the ads. Found it? Good.

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Little Blurbs

Liars - Liars
(Mute, 2007)
Score: 69.0%
Liars - "What Would They Know" (mp3)

Okay, I'll admit that I might not be the best person reviewing this album. I've never been a huge fan of the band, and because of that it was hard for me to have a positive outlook before listening and reviewing this album - I can admit that too. While Liars does have some pretty good songs on it, the album as a whole is too indebted to many other albums, particularly Psychocandy, to stand out among the rest of the catalog. While I can't argue that Liars don't do the Psychocandy sound justice, they honestly do, part of me wonders why I should bother listening to this album when I could just listen to Psychocandy.

Actually, I should also admit that only half the album really takes after the Jesus and Mary Chain classic, but the fact that I'm still only remembering this album as "the one that ripped off Jesus and Mary Chain" after several listens is not a good sign that I might come around in the future. However, it should be noted that my personal favorite track, "Sailing to Byzantium", sounds more like a slower Faint song with a falsetto than anything remotely close to shoegaze, and that another strong track, the fierce opening song "Plater Casts of Everything", is a straight forward rock song that would probably make Iggy Pop smile. But most of the songs, no matter their influence, sound like they are in need of a spark, a little bit of excitement of some kind. Aside from the few standout tracks, the album feels like its just coasting by.

Angels of Light - We Are Him
(Young God, 2007)
Score: 73.8%
Angels of Light - "Joseph's Song" (mp3)

The Angels of Light's most recent album was a difficult listen. Its not especially challenging or polarizing, though at times it can be uncompromising. No, it was a difficult listen because of how irritatingly inconsistent it was. And yet it still gets a pretty good score, hence the irritating part. I was irritated because I really wanted to, and at times did, love this album. But head Angel Michael Gira didn't write this record with me in mind, I'm sure. Regardless, I'll take the album as it is, with both its ups and downs, because the result is still worthwhile. Those who enjoyed the Angels' split with Akron/Family will probably appreciate the album's more alt/country leanings (guilty as charged!), though the best tracks tend to cross pollinate, notably "Sometimes I Dream I'm Hurting You", which throws in a little Velvet Underground, and the album's opening track, "Black River Song," which sounds like Battles if they were fronted by Mark E. Smith. This album looks to be a grower in the coming months.

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Have You Heard?

Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog

Sam Beam's latest won't officially arrive on shelves until Sept. 25, but us pirates have been salivating over the release since late June. The Iron & Wine faithful will find comfort in the familiar narratives spun via Beam's sweet faux-Southern charm (the guy's from Miami!) The uninitiated will find Shepherd's Dog the most accessible Iron & Wine album to date, complete with dazzling production and occasionally reverbed vocals! Stay tuned for a full review. For now, gnaw on this bone:

Iron & Wine - Boy with a Coin (from upcoming release The Shepherd's Dog)

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Albums Unleased!

Featured Album:
The Deadly Syndrome - The Ortolan
Are you tired of waiting for a new Wolf Parade album, or miss the endearing sounds of the first Arcade Fire EP? If you answered yes to any of the following, you're in luck. No, the new Wolf Parade album is a ways off still, and the Arcade Fire appear intent on maturing their sound. Instead, you might consider giving The Deadly Syndrome's debut album, the Ortolan (Dim Mak), a listen or ten. Despite the obvious Wolf Parade/Arcade Fire/any Montreal band ca. 2004 sound, the few songs I've heard are extremely catchy and well worth the listen. Curious? Head over to the bands MySpace page, or download their song "Eucalyptus ". The Ortolan hits stores on September 11.

August 28, 2007

Aceyalone - Lightning Strikes (Decon) CD/LP
Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass (Definitive Jux) CD/LP
Angels of Light - We Are Him (Young God)
Howling Hex - XI (Drag City)
Ladytron - Witching Hour (Bonus Tracks)
Liars - Liars (Mute) CD/LP
Madlib - Beat Konducta Vol 3 & 4 (Stones Throw) CD
Mercury Rev - Yourself is Steam/Lego My Ego (Mint UK)
Modern Lovers - Modern Lovers (Reissue) (Castle Us)
New Buffalo - Somewhere, Anywhere (Arts & Crafts)
No Age - Weirdo Rippers (Fat Cat) CD

Northern State - Can I HKeep This Pen (Ipecac)
Swayzak - Some Other Country (K7)
Transistor Radio - Legacy Between (Syntax)
VHS or Beta - Bring on the Comets (Astralwerks)

Read the whole list here.

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Upcoming Concerts (Updated August 27)

Featured Concert: Spectrum
This labor day, instead of taking in some last minute sun by the pool or heading to a baseball game, try doing a bunch of drugs and seeing Spectrum instead, which is fronted by Pete "Sonic Boom" Kember of Spacemen 3, uh, fame. Fans of Spacemen 3 that never got the chance to see them before their demise should check out this show, as Kember plans to play some Spacemen tunes in addition to a wide variety of post-Spacemen work. The show happens, as I mentioned, on Labor Day (September 3) at the Record Bar in Kansas City, MO.

27 - Dark Meat w/ Drakkar Sauna @ the Jackpot (Lawrence, KS)
27 - Magnolia Electric Co. @ the Grand Emporium (Kansas City, MO)
28 - Ladyfinger w/ The Jen Say Kwas, SHHH @ the Jackpot (Lawrence, KS)
28 - Making Movies w/ Oliver Future, Action Figure @ the Record Bar (Kansas City,
29 - 100 Year War w/ Ladyfinger, Counterlife @ the Record Bar (Kansas City, MO)
30 - The Belated w/ Cordelia, Yell Like Hell @ the Record Bar (Kansas City, MO)
30 - Ben Kweller w/ Willie Mason, Old Canes @ the Bottleneck (Lawrence, KS)
31 - The Only Children w/ Saints and Sinners, Telegraph Canyon @ the Jackpot (Lawrence, KS)

Read the whole list here.

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Spoon Dole Out Love to the Piddling Midwest

In further Spoon news, the band wins this fall's award for visiting those oft-skipped locales. I love you, Britt Daniel, and your 2006 KU-Day-on-the-Hill show I attended with an expired student ID. Spooning free of charge -- that's giving your fans love.

Lawrencians can attest to Mr. Daniel bobbing along Mass Street on afternoons before shows, darting into the Love Garden or just kicking it pre-show style. Newly added bassist Rob Pope hails from Lawrence, so expect regular visits from these guys to continue. As far as I'm concerned, any band who plays Colombia and Lawrence earns my admiration. Those crisp white fitted shirts don't hurt, either.

Just added shows that aren't free, but aren't $50:

9-29 Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
9-30 Fayetteville, AR - Chi Omega Greek Theater
10-2 Columbia, MO - The Blue Note
10-3 Lawrence, KS - Liberty Hall
10-5 Cincinnati, OH - Bogart's
10-8 Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater
10-10 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue (w/ the Ponys)
10-11 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue (w/ the Ponys)
10-12 Chicago, IL - The Riviera
10-13 Detroit, MI - Majestic (w/ the Ponys)

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Please give a warm welcome to KEEPON!

"During the next tour who would you like to have as your opening act?" A popular question indeed and most bands choose a human being (or group of human beings) to be the appetizer for their tour. Spoon chose a robot named Keepon. Many bands use gimmicks to attract an audience. This may be the best one to date. To see Keepon in action click here.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Sigur Ros: Heima Trailer

I vaguely remember reading about this DVD, due later this fall, some time ago on P4K, and then promptly forgetting about it. D'oh! The trailer, which you can watch below, looks fantastic, and helps remind me what an impressive force this band is live.

Thanks to Gorilla Vs. Bear for the heads up.

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Who Will Be the Next Radiohead?

Already it's begun. Shameless nights of listening to OK Computer, Kid A, and Amnesiac in all their unfolding chronological glory. Heck, I've even brought out Pablo Honey for a spin. The anticipation of the new Radiohead album has verily got me climbing up the walls.

Yesterday I was reading an article in a recent edition of The Chronicle Review (WAY hipper than it sounds), and I happened upon an article titled, "Where Have All the Rock Stars Gone?" After banishing demons of Paula Cole melodies from my mind, I dug in. Author David Shumway suggests that the emergence of singular cultural icons like Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, etc. becomes far more unlikely as music divides into so many easily accessible niches. This article got me thinking about Radiohead yet again, simply because they have so much crossover appeal, and because they still hold a lot of clout for both fans and the music industry in general.

Whispers amongst the indie scene have suggested that the Arcade Fire is the new Radiohead. I can attest that AF seem the likeliest contender to carry the torch -- that is, assuming Radiohead is ready to pass it. Might I mention again the impending album?

A journey over to Radiohead fan site At Ease, and you'll find incendiary commentary on the debate. Here the Thom Yorke faithfuls trade barbs such as, "The Arcade Fire are the most overrated band since Teenage Fanclub," "That's precisely what I think of the Arcade Fire. I think of a mountain-sized pile of shit and a single violin sticking up from it," "No one cares that you think they're overrated. Teenage Fanclub are far better at what they do than you'll be at whatever you're best at," and my personal fave, "Go make some more 3 year old discoveries about Coldplay." Might the Arcade Fire/Radiohead comparison be making diehard Radioheads a wee bit uneasy?

What is the formula for Radiohead status? Is it sheer talent, or something more? Perhaps some amount of commercial success -- but not too much? The constant reinvention? A tinge of the political? The "cool" quotient of its members? When I saw Arcade Fire play Lawrence's Jackpot Saloon in '04, Win took his mike stand and smashed it through the ceiling panels. I remember thinking, "That is one cool mothafucka." Reminds me of how I felt watching Thom Yorke waylay on a tambourine.

In time we'll see whether Arcade Fire will have the discography to sustain the Radiohead analogies. I remember when I first started listening to "good" music, someone told me Portishead was "The new Radiohead, but with a chick." I love ya Beth Gibbons and company, but you haven't come close to living up to that initial breathless review. Then again, aren't there rumors about a new Portishead album? Only time will tell.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Little Blurbs

August 21st was a big day for new releases, and to only review the New Pornographers and Architecture in Helsinki is a shame. Not because those albums are undeserving, they are, that's why they took precedent, but there were plenty of others that, had they been released any other week, would have probably seen some larger blog space. Below you'll find a few blurbs on some of those albums, and with any luck one of us will at least get a Kala review sometime in the near future. Enjoy.

Recommended Album
Caribou - Andorra

Score: 81.7 %

What the Others Think:

Pitchfork Score: 8.3
Tiny Mix Tapes Score: 4 1/2 out of 5
Coke Machine Glow Score: 60%

I have to admit that I'm far from a Caribou/Manitoba aficionado, though with the release of Andorra I may have to work on becoming one. The album is perhaps electro-pop at its near best. At times Andorra is reminiscent of Panda Bear's latest album Person Pitch, in that it does Brian Wilson and the Beatles justice while retaining its own identity. At the very least, give this album a spin or two, if only to hear such standout tracks as "After Hours", "Eli", and the album's closing track, "Niobe" which is an electronic menagerie of sound for the first 6 or so minutes that then shifts into a gentler, comfortable, science fiction movie-esque ending.

Caribou - "After Hours" (mp3)

Travis Morrison Hellfighters - All Y'all

Score: 69.5%

What the Others Think:

Pitchfork Score: N/A
Tiny Mix Tapes Score: N/A
Coke Machine Glow Score: N/A

Solo albums are not always very good, but for fans of the artist's previous endeavors, solo albums are usually, at the very least, interesting to hear. For example, after listening to Thom Yorke's The Eraser, you get a better idea of what styles and sounds he brings to Radiohead. But even The Eraser was far from perfect, and Travis Morrison, who helped take the Dismemberment Plan from Washington D.C. basements and dive bars to the cusp of indie stardom before their self-implosion in 2003, is no Thom Yorke. All Y'all is a marked improvement from Travis' previous solo outing, 2004's Travistian, otherwise known as the album slapped with a 0.0 rating at Pitchfork. Mostly the album picks up where the D-Plan left off on their underrated swan song, Change, but standout tracks like "Just Didn't Turn Me On" and "You Make Me Feel Like a Freak" branch off into a funkier, groovier direction that winds up being both refreshing and nerve racking, as its only a brief reminder of just how wonderfully off kilter D-Plan could be. Trimmed up a bit, this could have been a promising EP, but as it stands the album just a notch below pretty good.

Listen to the whole album here.

Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight

Score: 42.1%

What the Others Think:

Pitchfork Score: 5.1
Tiny Mix Tapes Score: N/A
Coke Machine Glow Score: N/A

Two years ago, Rilo Kiley jumped ship to a major label and released the sleeper single "Portions For Foxes", a guilty pleasure of mine I have to admit. Their not entirely alt-country, not quite indie-rock, not quite emo sound wasn't exactly thrilling, no more so than the new Wilco record, but pop songs don't necessarily have to take risks in order to work. In fact, taking risks is probably the biggest reason why this album feels like an underachiever. Rather than coming across as more adventurous, Rilo Kiley instead sound like they're struggling with their identity, trying to force songs to sound more exciting than they actually are. Granted, putting Jenny Lewis' cowpoke vocals over disco beats, which you'll hear several times on this album with varying degrees of success, does make for an interesting concept, but mostly winds up sounding more forced than fun. If you must, go ahead and call it a transitional record or a growing pain for a band that's still relatively new to the world of major labels, just don't expect to see it on too many "Best Of" lists come December.

Rilo Kiley - "The Moneymaker" (mp3)

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Has Anyone Heard of This Little Band Called Neutral Milk Hotel?

Leaving the classroom yesterday I picked up a wayward copy of last week's Jayplay, the entertainment section included in each Thursday's edition of The University Daily Kansan. After flipping past articles on adult acne and synchronized swimming (I'm NOT making this up), I came across a section called "Music That Moves You," a man-on-the street-style interview that asks headphone wearers what they are listening to at that precise moment. (The idea is an intriguing one, not unlike a feature SonicRyan is cooking up that asks musicians to list their current musical obsessions.)

To my shock, right there next to devotees of Michael Jackson and some band that "sounds like My Chemical Romance" (sigh), we have sophomore Kari Cozad listening to "Oh Comely" by Neutral Milk Hotel. My heart fluttered. Then I read her comment: "It's a pretty indie sound. I had some friends that like it so I said I'd give it a look." This is the best you can come up with to explain why you are listening to one of the most incredible, heart-wrenching ballads ever penned?

I think I'm going to plagiarize Miss Cozad's phrase "indie sound" whenever I'm pontificating about my music (which is, like always). "Hey, have you heard Of Montreal's latest? It has a real indie sound." "The Knife? A real indie sound." "Panda Bear..."

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Album Review: Feist - The Reminder

**There is no guarantee that you will like or agree with what is said in the following review. Read at your own discretion and after drinking at least two alcoholic beverages.**

October 31st 2005, trying desperately to regain warmth, I stood in anticipation of a band I had not yet heard, Broken Social Scene. My new love interest had enjoyed what he had heard of their music and I went along for the ride. We were both in for a surprise that fateful Halloween as the opening act took its place on the stage. Dorothy, with Toto in tow, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion walked gracefully onto the stage and picked up their instruments. When Ms. Dorothy opened her mouth I forgot about the chill in the air and melted in awe of Feist’s most beautiful instrument, her voice. I’ll never forget that first encounter and while there is no need for a reminder, I’ll take one when its coming from Leslie Feist. Her latest album, The Reminder, is not only a reminder of Feist’s love woes and foes but also a reminder of her cosmic talent. Now I should remind all of you that this is a highly biased entry. I not only love, I covet. I know it may be considered a sin, but come on, who wouldn’t want to have a voice like Feist? Now that I’ve been washed clean of my sins its time for the album review.

Not unlike her previous album, The Reminder starts with a soft melody that leaves me wanting more. “So Sorry” with its simple and honest lyrics falls short and instead of making me melt it succeeds in only slightly defrosting my surface. Fortuately, Feist manages to thoroughly de-thaw with the second track “I Feel It All.” Upbeat, car-friendly and sing-a-long ready “I Feel It All” makes me forget about the laggard introduction and leaves me singing, “I love you more. I don’t know what I knew before…” I often “spoon” with the next track “My Moon My Man.” (Yes, that is a reference to the track being reminiscent of many a Spoon song.) Tracks four and five aim at reflection and recognition with a jaunt through “The Park” and an immersion in “The Water.” One of the album’s highlights “Sea Lion Woman” is an all around joy. High energy and packed with fanciful lyrics “Sea Lion Woman” makes me want to get up from the couch and shake my groove thang! Yea! Yea!

Versatile is a word that comes to mind when describing Feist’s third album. The second half of the album mimics the first with its many changes in tempo and tone. Note worthy songs include, “Past in Present,” “One Two Three Four” and “Honey Honey.” Mixing past with present, Donny and Marie Osmond say it best when describing “Past in Present” as “a little bit country and a little bit rock n’ roll.” “One Two Three Four,” is catchy and charismatic, perfect for the radio and my ears. The second to last song of the album, “Honey Honey,” is hypnotic with its rhythmic simulation of bees trudging along hard at work.

The Reminder with its ever-changing faces is an album that is adaptable to many situations. I find myself listening to it in the shower, during naps, in the car…the list could go on indefinitely. In short, Feist is the warbling wonder of the world! I sometimes wonder why I’m still living in the United States when there is less pollution, less crime, and a musical goddess like Feist roaming around in Canada. Hmmm…. I’ll leave you on that note and with the challenge (aka wonderous endeavor) of giving Feist’s The Reminder a thorough appraisal.


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This Just In!

Some new additions to the Upcoming Concerts list that I thought you, dear reader, might like to know about.

10/25 - Architecture in Helsinki @ TBA (Lawrence, KS)
10/30 - Anti MC w/ Busdriver, Daedelus @ the Gaslight Tavern (Lawrence, KS)
11/11 - Regina Spektor @ the Uptown Theater (Kansas City, MO)
11/13 - The Hold Steady w/ Art Brut @ the Granada (Lawrence, KS)
11/13 - Old Time Relijun w/ Madhappy @ the Record Bar (Kansas City, MO)
11/20 - Annuals w/ Manchester Orchestra @ the Bottleneck (Lawrence, KS)

Hell yes.

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Random Musings

Awwwww Shit, Beck's Got a New iSingle.
Beck just pooped out a new one-off iTunes exclusive single, "Nah Nah Nah Nah," nah, just kidding, its called "Timebomb". Sadly, its not a cover of, or nearly as good as, the Dismemberment Plan song of the same name. Instead, it sounds a lot like LCD Soundsystem's "Us V Them" from this Spring's pretty dang good Sound of Silver. But just so you don't have to take my word for it, head over to Pitchfork and give it a listen.

Still Smokin'
Devendra Banhart, the man who puts the hippie in "hipster", is set to release his latest album, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, on September 25th. For you impatient types, you can head over to his MySpace page to stream two songs, and over to our comrades and fellow Blogspot users at I Guess I'm Floating, where they have the incredible "Seahorse" available for download.

Round One. Fight!
Finding similarities in Sonic Youth and Broken Social Scene is like catching recycled Simpsons ideas in Family Guy or South Park: They're almost unavoidable. Not that I'm complaining, its just something I've noticed. Another thing I've also noticed is that both Sonic Youth and Broken Social Scene's respective frontmen are releasing solo records on the same day! Now, while I don't suppose that Thurston Moore and Kevin Drew have any beef towards each other, I think it would be a wonderful selling tool if they would just fake a feud for the next couple of weeks. Perhaps they could join the WWE, and in typical pro-wrestling fashion really draw the feud out for several episodes in lengthy, saliva spewing diatribes. Then, the Sunday before their records are released (September 18th on Ecstatic Peace and Arts & Crafts respectively) the two indie-superstars would finally meet in an epic no-holds-barred cage match - only on Pay Per View! - with J Mascis as the impartial referee (he does play on both their records, after all).

Think about it.


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Album Review: Architecture in Helsinki - Places Like This

Official Score: 75%

What the Others Say

Pitchfork: N/A
Tiny Mix Tapes: N/A
Coke Machine Glow: N/A

From the gentle tinnitus of Fingers Crossed to the attention-deficit-darling In Case We Die, emerges Places Like This, Architecture in Helsinki's most confident and, at times, annoying album to date.

From the opening track it’s clear this isn’t your 2005-era Architecture. “Red Turned White” is a no-holds-barred fun house ride. Followed by bongo-beat single “Heart It Races” and equally effervescent “Hold Music,” Places blasts off. I never thought I could compare the band to the B-52s, but somehow they sound like a dead ringer on the latter track. Thankfully the insanity doesn’t last much longer. “Feather in a Baseball Cap” is a trippy, funky turn that serves as a welcome transition from the exuberance of the album’s opening, and signals a decidedly less bombastic final three-quarters.

Aussies Cameron Bird and Kellie Sutherland are more in character on Places than ever before, a perfect complement to the theatrics of the band’s overall sound. Imagine a cracked-out Isaac Brock and Regine Chassagne racing ice cream trucks through your neighborhood.

This brings up my biggest criticism of the album, which is strangely its biggest strength. Its undeniable, balls-to-the-wall approach may mean it receives less time in this listener’s rotation than previous Architecture albums. Places is not the distant hum of “The Price is Right” in your grandmother’s living room – it commands your attention, for the first three tracks anyhow. Maybe that's why mid-album sagger "Underwater" feels like such a downer, like someone letting the air out of your tires while you're still on the racetrack.

The album concludes with “Same Old Innocence,” which features feedback-laced piano evoking album opener “Red Turned White.” Meanwhile Bird delivers his trademark quaver, singing, “It’s the Same Old Innocence.” He suggests that despite the new sound, they’re still the same Architecture. It’s a fitting final track for a band that has staked its career on sunny beats and happy singalongs. After all, it’s that same old innocence that gives Architecture its charm.

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Albums Unleashed!

Looking Ahead:
Liars - Liars
Normally I try to feature an album I'm slightly familiar with, but this time I'm stumped. But with a band that has flirted with witch themed concept albums and pioneering dance-punk alike, the only you can expect is the unexpected, and maybe that the album's release date will be pushed back yet again. Yes, that's right, it now appears that Liars will be released on September 4th instead of its initial scheduled date of, well, today, which is still the date listed on their official web page. Far be it from me to call them...ah forget it. You already know where I'm taking that one. Just read the list.

August 21, 2007

Animal Collective - Peacebone (Domino) Cdsingle/12"/7"
Architecture in Helsinki - Places Like This (Polyvinyl) CD/LP
Caribou - Andorra (Merge) CD/LP
Coalesce - There Is Nothing New Under the Sun (Hydrahead)
Earlimart - Mentor Tormentor (Shout! Factory)
Engik, Jeremy - The Missing Link (567)
Imperial Teen - Hair, The TV, The Baby & The Band (Merge)
Kinski - Down Below It's Chaos (Sub Pop)
Love - Greatest Hits (Rhino)
The Mekons - Natural (Quarterstick)
Mendoza Line - 30 Year Low (Glurp)
M.I.A. - Kala (Interscope) CD
Minus the Bear - Planet of Ice (Suicide Squeeze) CD/LP
Travis Morrison Hellfighters - All Y'all (Barsuk)
New Pornographers - Challengers (Matador) CD/LP
Numbers - Now You Are This (Kill Rock Stars)
Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight (Warners) CD
Stereo Total - Paris Berlin (Kill Rock Stars)
Sun Ra - The Night of the Purple Moon (Atavistic)
Talib Kweli - Ear Drum (Warner)
West, Kanye - Graduation (Def Jam) CD

Read the whole list here.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Album Review: New Pornographers - Challengers

Official Score: 87%

What the Others Say

Pitchfork: 6.0
Tiny Mix Tapes: 3.5/5
Coke Machine Glow: N/A

Early in my parents' marriage my stepfather bought my mother a shirt that featured a giant heart with the words "Leftover Lover" scrawled in sleazy script. She had been livid about the purchase, though perhaps still reeling from the last divorce, let the aberration slide.

On the New Pornographers' latest, you could call frontman AC Newman somewhat of a leftover lover. In an interview earlier this year, Newman said that after letting Dan Bejar and Neko Case take their pick of his newly written songs, he cheerfully resigned himself to the scrappings. Does this shameless placating signal that the New Pornos may be on shaky ground? I hope not, as Challengers is yet another confident and sophisticated addition to the New Pornos' impressive catalogue.

No, I'm not one of those AC-Newman-crazed fan girls that I keep hearing about. That signature lisp just doesn't do it for me, sexually anyhow. I am a big fan of his power-pop, or "power-folk" as he proclaimed in a recent PF interview. AC Newman is the brains behind the band, and the man shouldn't have to beg for his own scraps from anyone, not even Neko Case. Neko snags the titular track here, a slow-burner as restrained as the affair she croons about. Admittedly Neko's tracks on this album, though good, don't stand up to "The Jessica Numbers" or "These Are the Fables." I know Neko's a country chantreuse, but does she have to sing all the slow ones? On a side note, I should point out that Neko's duties as backup singer have been passed on to apparently permanent new member Kathryn Calder -- perhaps another sign the New Pornos are on the decline?

Strangely, odd-man-out Dan Bejar outshines his fellow band members on Challengers. I've always suspected Bejar would be the first to renege on the whole New Pornos arrangement --damn you, Destroyer! Perhaps part of that shameless placating I mentioned earlier involved Bejar saying, "I'll do some songs, if I can have 'Myriad Harbour.'" Or maybe Newman simply recognized Bejar would be the best vocalist for what is easily the most ground-breaking track on the album, which I heard another blogger say reminded him of the way he felt when he first heard the Pixies. "Myriad Harbour" has everything a good power-pop/folk/rock song demands: jangly guitars, a catchy beat, the ramblings of an apparent mad-man (maybe that's where the Pixies' analogy comes in?)

Newman did wrestle a few gems here, such as the wistful builder "Unguided" or the closest track on Challengers to the incredible chant-inducing "Bleeding Heart Show," "Adventures in Solitude." If only "All Those Old Showstoppers" or "All the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth" lived up to their names. And don't even get me started on "Mutiny, I Promise You."

Challengers reflects AC Newman's desire for a more folky, less power-pop sound -- a successful if not seamless transition. Let's hope the shift is merely a new, intriguing addition to the New Pornos' palette, and not the end of an era.

Note: No Neko accompanying the New Pornos at Pitchfork Music Fest 2007. Maybe that guy's big head is covering her.

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Area Concerts (Updated August 20th)

21 - Pelican w/ Clouds (ex Cave-In), Your Black Star@ the Waiting Room (Omaha, NE)
22 - The Fairer Sex, w/ Endless Mic @ the Jackpot (Lawrence, KS)
23 - Talib Kweli w/ DJ Chaps @ the Granada (Lawrence, KS)
24 - Volunteers s/ Chad Serhal @ Jackpot (Lawrence, KS)
25 - Coalesce w/ This Is My Condition, Rocket Fuel is the Key @ the Bottleneck (Lawrence, KS)
25 - Detroit Cobras w/ the Willowz @ the Record Bar (Kansas City, MO)
26 - Meat Puppets w/ the Hearers, the Only Children @ the Record Bar (Kansas City, MO)
27 - Dark Meat w/ Drakkar Sauna @ the Jackpot (Lawrence, KS)
27 - Magnolia Electric Co. @ the Grand Emporium (Kansas City, MO)
28 - Ladyfinger w/ The Jen Say Kwas, SHHH @ the Jackpot (Lawrence, KS)
28 - Making Movies w/ Oliver Future, Action Figure @ the Record Bar (Kansas City, MO)
29 - 100 Year War w/ Ladyfinger, Counterlife @ the Record Bar (Kansas City, MO)
30 - The Belated w/ Cordelia, Yell Like Hell @ the Record Bar (Kansas City, MO)
30 - Ben Kweller w/ Willie Mason, Old Canes @ the Bottleneck (Lawrence, KS)
31 - The Only Children w/ Saints and Sinners, Telegraph Canyon @ the Jackpot (Lawrence, KS)

See More...

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

New Site Launch

Late Sunday night = Ironing Tweaks in the New Site Design. Full functionality is key! Aim for perfection always! Seriously though, we are going to have this baby up and running tomorrow if it kills me.

Top Five CDs to Listen to While Redesigning Your Music Blog:

1. Califone - Roots & Crowns

Sometimes you just need something you can ignore. This is for those intense sessions when the CSS gods are frowning upon you, and you need a sweet golden voice and experimental acoustics to guide you through the fog.

2. The Field - Here We Go to Sublime

To wake you up from that Califone you just listened to, though it's still suitable background music -- now with beats! What SonicRyan would call, "Techno music on your own terms."

3. Neutral Milk Hotel - On Avery Island

To remind you why you are putting so much time and energy into your music blog. WARNING: Turn off "Pree Sisters Swallowing a Donkey's Eye," or you'll be sucked into the abyss of madness. Which reminds me of a couple good quiz questions, "Tracks That You Turn off on Otherwise Remarkable Albums" and "Tracks Liable to Trigger a Migraine."

4. New Pornographers - Challengers

AC Newman's latest pow-wow of what his site calls "ridiculously talented musicians" (they are). Some good slow ones to bolster your concentration, some good fast ones to snap you awake. Oh and, didn't you promise to review that for tomorrow? First things first.

5. Built to Spill - Perfect from Now On

For irony. And because it fucking rocks.

Stay tuned -- site ready to launch in 5, 4, 3, 2...

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Bad Week to Be a Dance/Punk/Alt Country/Spoken Word Fan.

According to various reports, Ted Leo and !!! have lost band members this week. Apparently bassist Dave Lerner hightailed it from the Pharmacists to join a real pharmacy school here. J/k, though considering Girl Talk only recently quit his job as a bioengineer to focus on his music, anything is possible. Brooklyn Vegan reports that !!! co-lead-vocalist John Pugh did not appear with the band at Lollapalooza and has reportedly left the band. Perhaps to form his new band Interrobang, aka "!?" (All right, enough with the bad jokes.) We'll see if Pugh shows when !!! and the Field play their Midwestern shows this fall. Wait, that's right! They haven't scheduled any.

In other disappointing news, Wilco cancelled its 8/14 Duluth, Minn. and 8/15 Winnipeg shows due to guitarist Nels Cline's agonizing case of the chicken pox. Notes PF, "And you thought Sky Blue Sky was wimpy!" Now that hurts.

Lastly, Cat Power has added a slew of dates to her fall tour, but has apparently adopted the trend of skipping the Midwest entirely. Oh, well: check out this interview with Voxtrot's Ramesh, who complains that Chan Marshall's onstage presence is not so much singer as "talker." After seeing CP perform at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival, I concur -- lots of talk-singing and stalking the stage in smeared mascara. Don't we all just love a train wreck, though?

(Photo shamelessly nabbed from PF.)

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Albums Unleashed!

Looking Ahead:
Caribou - Andorra

Poor Dan Snaith. First, he has to change his band name from Manitoba to Caribou two albums in to his career. In addition to that nonsense, his first release under the Caribou moniker, in 2005, had to compete with the likes of Kanye West, M.I.A., Rilo Kiley, Architecture in Helsinki, and the New Pornographers (to name a few) for attention. Flash forward to August 21st of this year, and look who is raining on Mr. Snaith's parade once again. Despite a slew of late Summer/Fall releases that are sure to generate publicity (and maybe even rock a little), I'm certain that Andorra will get its due, even if it is only from me.

August 14, 2007

Blockhead - Uncle Tony's Coloring Book (Big Dada)
Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band - Live at Birkshaw Festival 1972 (Ozit)
Junior Senior - Hey Hey My My Yo Yo (Atlantic)
Oh No - Dr. No's Experiment (Stones Throw) CD/LP
Sunn o))) - Oracle (12") (Southern Lord)

August 21, 2007

Animal Collective - Peacebone (Domino) Cdsingle/12"/7"
Architecture in Helsinki - Places Like This (Polyvinyl) CD/LP
Caribou - Andorra (Domino) CD/LP
M.I.A. - Kala (Interscope) CD
Minus the Bear - Planet of Ice (Suicide Squeeze) CD/LP
New Pornographers - Challengers (Matador) CD/LP
Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight (Warners) CD
West, Kanye - Graduation (Def Jam) CD

August 28, 2007

Aceyalone - Lightning Strikes (Decon) CD/LP
Aesop Rock - None Shall Pass (Definitive Jux) CD/LP
Liars - Liars (Mute) CD/LP
Madlib - Beat Konducta Vol 3 & 4 (Stones Throw) CD
No Age - Weirdo Rappers (Fat Cat) CD

September 4, 2007

Manu Chao - La Radiolina (Nacional) CD

September 11, 2007

Arcade Fire - "No Cars Go" b/w "Surf City Eastern Bloc" (Merge) 7"
Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam (Domino) CD/LP
Besnard Lakes - Casino Nanaimo (Jagjaguwar) 12"
Black Lips - No Good Not Evil (Vice) CD
Deerhoof - Matchbook Seeks Romantic (Kill Rock Stars) 7"
Dirty Projectors - Rise Above (Dead Oceans) CD/LP
Gang Gang Dance - RawWar (Social Registry) CD/LP
The Go! Team - Proof of Youth (Sub Pop) CD/LP
Good Life - Help Wanted Nights (Saddle Creek) CD/LP
Grayskul - Bloody Radio (Rhymesayers) CD/LP
Joy Division - Still (Rhino) LP Reissue
Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures (Rhino) LP Reissue
Joy Division - Closer (Rhino) LP Reissue
McCombs, Cass - Thats That (Domino) Cdep/12"
Mirah & the Spectratone International - Share this Place: Stories and Observations (K) LP
Mono - Gone (Temporary Residence) CD/3LP
Oakley Hall - I'll Follow You (Merge) CD/LP
Pinback - Autumn of the Seraphs (Touch and Go) CD/LP
Qui - Loves Miracle (Touch & Go) CD
Shout out Louds - Our Ill Wills (Merge) CD/LP
Wiley - Playtime is Over (XL) CD
Yonkers, Michael - Grimwood (DiStijl) CD
Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth (Reissue) (Domino) CD/LP

September 18, 2007

Dropkick Murphys - Meanest of Times (Hellcat) CD
Les Savy Fav - Lets Stay Friends (Frenchkiss) CD

September 25, 2007

Banhart, Devendra - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (XL) CD
Cave Singers - Invitation Songs (Matador) CD/LP
Doors - Vinyl Box Set (Rhino) 7LP Box
Gonzalez, Jose - In Our Nature (Mute) CD
Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog (Sub Pop) CD/LP
LaVette, Bettye - Scene of the Crime (Epitaph) CD/LP
Matt Pond PA - Last Light (Altitude) CD/LP
Mum - Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy (Fat Cat) CD/LP
Sea Wolf - Leaves in the River (Dangerbird) CD
Two Gallants - Two Gallants (Saddle Creek) CD/LP
Tunng - Good Arrows (Thrill Jockey) CD/LP
Weakerthans - Reunion Tour (Epitaph) CD/LP
Working for a Nuclear Free City - Businessmen & Ghosts (Deaf Dumb &
Blind) 2CD

October 9, 2007

Banhart, Devendra - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (XL) LP
Beirut - The Flying Cup Club (Ba Da Bing) CD/LP
Celebration - The Modern Tribe (4ad) CD/LP
Fiery Furnaces - Widow City (Thrill Jockey) CD/LP

November 6, 2007

Mission of Burma - Signals Calls & Marches (Matador) CD/LP Reissue
Mission of Burma - Horrible Truth about Burma (Matador) CD/LP Reissue
Mission of Burma - Vs. (Matador) CD/LP Reissue

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Friday, August 10, 2007

What's With the Infrequent Posts? (From This Blogger, Anyhow)

With the fall semester approaching faster than a new Decemberists' album, I'm feverishly working on a redesign for the page. New and improved! is the idea, but we'll see if my limited HTML skills will bear the brunt of my artistic vision. For now, chew on this redesigned flag for a bit. With any luck, it'll be at the top of this blog sometime before the next Decemberists album. I'm fairly certain it's called, The Vagabond's Vouchsafe. Just kidding -- I hope.

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File Under: A Drunken Post From SonicRyan

Fuck! Broken Social Scene are fucking incredible, no?

Now Playing: Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Have You Heard?

Unlike Nicole, who started this Have You Heard? business last week, I don't have a great new album to tease you with. Instead, my time has been spent letting iTunes decide the listening material for me. I've been uploading music to a new computer and my selection is limited, and as a result iTunes has chosen some music I haven't heard in quite some time. Without any further delay, here are some albums that I've been reacquainted with recently that I felt warranted some blog space.

Akron/Family - Akron/Family

Akron/Family get lumped into the "freak folk" genre, but if you ask me I don't find them incredibly freaky at all. Instead they just make somewhat mellow, beautiful, engaging music that is not too dissimilar from Grizzly Bear, Califone, or Iron and Wine.

I remember the first time that I heard "Running, Returning". I was cleaning my dirty dishes in the kitchen of my large one bedroom apartment in Lawrence on a September afternoon in 2005. I remember walking away from my overflowing sink to get closer to my radio in the other room so I could hear the song better. After listening to the remainder of the song, I immediately called up the KJHK studio to ask the DJ what band just blew my mind. He told me, and immediately upon finishing the dishes I left my apartment for my favorite downtown record store and purchased the album. Luckily, the album did not disappoint. Each and every song, from the first track, which somehow manages to find common ground between Neutral Milk Hotel and some of the songs from The Glow, pt. 2, to the album's last, is solid. I'm surprised that, despite the fact that the album was released in a year where Sufjan and Clap Your Hands dominated the publicity, this album managed to slip under the radar. It's that good.

Sonic Youth - Hold That Tiger

Though released in 1998, this live album actually documents an overlooked era in the Sonic Youth chronology: The post-Sister era. Sure, it's pretty much agreed on that Sister is a fucking great album, but its successor often hogs the all of the attention. And while I will admit that if you're just looking for any old, live Sonic Youth of any kind that you're better off getting the Daydream Nation Deluxe Edition, this release is still a valuable investment. The songs are louder, faster, and more punk rock than the recorded versions, but the songs that were played that night have always sounded like they were meant to be played louder, faster, and more punk rock at some club in Chicago (or Lawrence). Regardless of how the songs are portrayed, this live album is necessary because it documents a period in Sonic Youth's career that is worth revisiting. The band has taken Daydream Nation on the road, which is awesome, but it's not likely you will ever see them play a set's worth of Sister and EVOL tracks (not to mention an encore of Ramones songs) pretty much ever.

Arcade Fire - Arcade Fire

Immediately upon uploading the Arcade Fire's self released, self titled EP, I felt as if had no choice but to listen to it. I've listened to my share of Neon Bible and Funeral this year, but the EP had yet to make its way into my ears, that is before yesterday afternoon. "Headlights Look Like Diamonds" and "No Cars Go", the original version found on this release, were both live staples while touring for Funeral, but the real show stopper is the closing track, "Vampire/Forest Fire", as the song's epic climax is a mere prelude to what would eventually become Funeral.

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Live Review: Modest Mouse

August 3rd, 2007

City Market

Kansas City, MO

Last Friday's Modest Mouse show is best described as hot and bothered. Temperatures were still near 90 degrees after dark with little to no breeze, not that a breeze would have been felt among the hundreds of people congregated so tightly around the stage. Also, there were plenty of distractions that made the actual music hard to focus on at times. I'll spare you some of the more moot details, but I will say this: Now that Modest Mouse have legitimate hit songs and records, they attract a crowd that would have never set foot inside a Modest Mouse show a decade ago. Of course, this is great for the band, the promoters, the radio stations that play them, etc, but shitty for others who actually, God forbid, enjoy hearing "Bukowski".

I'll get off my soapbox now, I swear.

Modest Mouse are still playing mostly new material, and the few old tunes were fairly predictable. "Paper Thin Walls", "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes", and "Doin' the Cockroach" are all pretty much standards now. The only major surprise of the evening was "Out of Gas", which honestly sounded out of place among so many crisper, professional sounding songs. Still, despite the distractions and the predictable set list, the show was quite enjoyable. The Good News songs still sound fresh and relevant, and revisiting those songs after quite some time was very refreshing for yours truly. The aforementioned "Bukowski" was a treat, as was the raucous and distorted "Satin In a Coffin". Surprisingly absent from the set was "Ocean Breathes Salty", but energizing "The View", one of Good News' more underrated songs, more than made up for it. The main highlights of the set were the longer jams: "Don't the Cockroach", which swelled to over ten minutes, and the brain melting, 15-20 minute long "Spitting Venom". The song, already an immediate standout from their latest album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, also stole the live show. The headphone friendly outro got the Neil Young treatment in concert, complete with messy guitar solos, feedback (intentional and accidental), and yelps from front man Issac Brock. I couldn't have asked for a better, more appropriate ending to the show.

A quick unrelated aside: As girlfriend and I were leaving in a herd of hot, sweaty human bodies, Sigur Ros could be heard coming from the PA speakers. I have to say that stomping on the thousands of littered plastic cups in sync to the opening of "Glosoli" was indeed a unique experience.

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Life Imitates Art: Sonic Spectrum Goes Commercial

Kansas City's best (read: only) indie/college rock program on terrestrial radio, Sonic Spectrum, is taking up residence on Kansas City's alternative rock station, 96.5 The Buzz. This announcement comes about a month after Robert Moore, the creator and host of Sonic Spectrum, announced he was leaving 89.3 KCUR and taking his show with him. This humble blogger has conflicting feelings about this announcement.

First off, Sonic Spectrum was a no budget show on a public access station that played great indie/college music of all kinds (focusing more on the rock though). Basically, its two hours of airtime were Kansas City's equivalent to a block of standard rotation on KJHK, and since getting KJHK to come in clearly on a radio is damn near impossible in the city, those two hours of Sonic Spectrum were pretty sacred. It was a show to hear old favorites, instant classics, and some surprises. Moore knows his shit, so even the banter was good, unlike your average KJ DJ who, and I honestly don't mean to sound insulting, sometimes sound like they'd rather be partying or studying, depending on what part of the semester it is. Moore was incredibly dedicated and focused on his baby, and as a result the show gained about as much attention as a little indie rock radio show on public access can in Kansas City. And now its moving to the Buzz, home of the abrasive-at-best-but-usually-an-asshole Lazlo, his pothead sidekick Slimfast, and the earnest yet unlistenable Homegrown Buzz program. What worries me most about this jump is not about whether or not I think Moore is selling out, any man who starts a record label for the sole purpose of releasing and distributing local bands on a wider scale as a labor of love can't be too much of a sellout. No, its that, like it or not, Sonic Spectrum will be compromised in some way. I'm not saying that we'll soon be hearing the latest Fall Out Boy single on Sonic Spectrum (though knowing the Buzz we very well could), I'm just saying it won't be the same.

But then again, this is the guy who started Oxblood, and whatever you make of the talent on the roster aside, Moore is at least trying to take these bands to the next level so they can start playing venues like the Record Bar in other cities as opposed to just playing the Record Bar. Perhaps the jump to the Buzz can be looked at in the same light, that he is just trying to take the bands he loves to the next level. Commercial radio just might be that step that bands like Menomena or Deerhunter need if they want to make a living making (great) music.

Will the average Buzz listener go for Moore's show? Its hard to tell, but if anyone's going to make it happen its going to be Robert Moore. So to Mr. Moore: Even though I am conflicted, I wish you and your show the best of luck. As long as you sneak in a pre-Geffen Sonic Youth track once in a while you'll have a listener in me.

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Have You Heard?

Animal Collective - Strawberry Jams

I'm pleased to say this "leak" is not only sweet but sticky, too -- I've already smeared these jams all over the crevices of my brain. The ants have taken a liking to it, too.

Well, I guess you can only take the Strawberry Jams analogies so far... Seriously, though, this leaked version is much better than one I previously encountered -- and the album is much more cohesive without, you know, the death metal and "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" tune.

A review is forthcoming from either Ryan or I (perhaps both), whenever the hell the thing is released. September, right guys? You get on that, and I'll polish my puns.

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More Good News

Dan Deacon, who's latest album Spiderman of the Rings has been making my hips move for the past month or so, has been tapped as Girl Talk's opening act for his fall tour, including the Lawrence stop at the Granada Theater on October 4th, which is excellent news for me since I not only missed him at the Pitchfork Music Festival, but couldn't make it to his last Lawrence show because of some car issues. So, barring any other catastrophe, you should find me shaking my ass all night at the Granada on the 4th. Hopefully you will too.

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Next Stop: Kansas City!

Yesterday afternoon a co-worker of came up to me and asked me if I had heard who was coming to town. Now, not to brag or anything, but since I just updated the concert portion of this blog on Monday, I figured that there was a very good possibility that I did in fact know who was coming to town, but since I did not know what band he had in mind, I played dumb. "No," I responded, "who is it?"

I was not braced for the answer.


= Love

That's right, the Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem megatour has expanded once again and now includes a stop at beautiful Starlight Theater in Kansas City. Excuse me if I get a bit ahead of myself and say that this might just end up being the concert of the year. Tickets are a measly $26 (before Ticketmaster fees and beatdowns) for this, and go on sale August 11th at 10:00 AM sharp.

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