Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

It's Halloween, the one day where it's acceptable to take candy from strangers. To celebrate, download some the songs we are offering down below.

Sonic Youth - Halloween
Spoon - The Ghost of You Lingers
The Unicorns - Tuff Ghost
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Witch Mountain Bridge
Flaming Lips - Halloween on the Barbary Coast

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wanna Jazz Up that PB&J? Smear On Some Besnard Lakes.

Just when that Peter Bjorn & John album was getting a little stale, along comes opener Besnard Lakes to spice things up. Not that Writer's Block wasn't a good album, but come on, it was soooo 2006. The Lakes' dense guitar-laden stylings have been a recent obsession of mine, and after missing their Spring romp through the Midwest, I'm pleased to hear news of their return. Now all you slow-on-the-uptakes can join me in heralding one of the year's most overlooked albums, Are the Dark Horse.

If only Animal Collective were joining the lineup, we could really make some good PB&J puns. Alas...

PB&J and the Besnard Lakes:

11-23 Houston, TX - Warehouse Live
11-24 Dallas, TX - Palladium Loft
11-25 Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom
11-26 Kansas City, MO - Madrid Theatre
11-27 Indianapolis, IN - The Vogue
11-29 Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
11-30 Louisville, KY - Headliners Music Hall
12-01 Detroit, MI - Majestic Theatre
12-02 Cincinnati, OH - Bogart's
12-03 Millvale, PA - Mr. Small's

SonicRyan, thanks for the good news.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Little Blurbs:
Grizzly Bear - Friend EP

Do you trust your friends?

That was the question posed earlier this year by Stars, the Canadian based band allowed their friends and associates in bands like Dears, Junior Boys, Final Fantasy, to cover their breakthrough album Set Yourself on Fire from start to finish. The results were mixed, the reviews were mixed, leaving no doubt in my mind that the best possible answer to the question is: depends.

With that in mind, I shall continue with the latest installment of our Little Blurbs section, this time focusing on Grizzly Bear and their latest release, Friend EP. Coming soon, a blurb about the Japancakes' homage to the My Bloody Valentine epic, Loveless. You can also read the previous blurb, focusing on Celebration's latest album, The Modern Tribe, here.

Grizzly Bear - Friend EP

(Warp, 2007)

Grade: 71.2

"Alligator (Choir Version)" (mp3)

If you are like me in any way, you are probably a bit hesitant to give this lengthy EP a listen. For starters, Yellow House still holds up quite nicely, so a stopgap EP seems a bit unnecessary, even for a band that tours as much as Grizzly Bear. Second, the EP is lacking in any new material, instead consisting mostly of covers, either done by Grizzly Bear or their friends (hence the title), and re-interpretations of several existing songs.

I'll be honest, my expectations were not very high for this release, and perhaps that is why I came to like it almost immediately. Granted, the last thing us Grizzly Bear fans need are two more covers of "Knife", especially when the original is the undisputed champion, but as a whole this EP is rather enjoyable, especially the first half, where most of Grizzly Bear's tracks reside. The re-worked versions of Horn of Plenty tracks "Alligator" and "Shift" stand out the most on the initial listen, especially "Alligator", which once was a short, noisy drone that now sounds like another Yellow House gem. The song is nearly 4 minutes longer, but Grizzly Bear make the most of their time, filling out the spaces with their rich vocal harmonies and explosive builds, similar to the Yellow House epic "On a Neck, On a Spit". The cover of "He Hit Me", a live staple of the band, fits like a hand-me-down shirt. The doo-wop harmonies suggest "Knife" in the best possible way, as it is easy to imagine their love for this song as the inspiration for what has become their most famous one.

Friend does taper off when the covers kick in, though not for any lack of effort. Atlas Sound, the side project of Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox, brings the better of the two versions of "Knife" by staying both true and away from the original version at the same time, but the song, as interesting and unique as it is, lacks the passion and soul that makes the original such a compelling listen. Perhaps most surprising of all is Band of Horses' take on "Plans", as they give the song a 70's Country hoedown vibe (and sound a bit like they've been listening to the Eagles' "Seven Bridges Road while they're at it), but as fun as it may sound it still pales in comparison to the original.

Should they trust their friends?
Only to collaborate. The new "Alligator", which has assistance from Zach Condon and the Dirty Projectors, is incredible, and the hyped up jam that concludes Friend is perhaps the most exciting moment on this release. Otherwise, they are better off keeping faith in themselves.

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Featured Concert of the Week

The New Pornographers w/ Immaculate Machine

Though The New Pornographers have never been a band to shy away from playing a little college town such as Lawrence, what's remarkable about their upcoming show at Liberty Hall is Dan Bejar and Neko Case are coming with them, which means A.C. Newman and Kathryn Calder (who is also a member of opening act Immaculate Machine) can stick to just singing their parts for a change. The show is Sunday, November 4th.

New Pornographers - "Myriad Harbour" (mp3)
(From the LP Challengers)

Read the whole concert calendar here.

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Live Pics: Architecture in Helsinki + Some Hot Openers

The Bottleneck - Lawrence, KS - 10/25/07

Opening acts rarely get more than a side note in one of my reviews, as typically you can find me downing a half-bottle of Captain carside during the majority of the set. As Girlfriend noted in her recent review, however, Architecture in Helsinki selected the perfect complements to their jangly pop paroxysms. You won't need to be blitzed on booze to groove to Glass Candy and Panther (not to be confused with emo-rockers Panthers, vocalist/jirrating mo-fo Charlie Salas-Humara implored us post-show. "Sorry," he confessed afterwards, "I'm really stoned." It's cool, guy. You earned it.)


Writhing On-Stage:

Posing for Girlfriend After the Show:

Glass Candy's Ida No Climbs On Some Lucky Guy's Back:

Glass Candy Gets Groovy:

Ida No Says "Yes" to Joining the Crowd:

Architecture's Kellie Sutherland Sings "Wishbone":

Architecture Rockin' the Encore:

The Crowd Croons Along to "The Cemetery" (Note the Choir Boy-Esque Fellow):

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Live Review: Architecture in Helsinki w/ Glass Candy, Panther

The Bottleneck - Lawrence, KS - 10/25/07


Hey you! Yeah you, with the dirty mind. Read on...

Two rum and cokes, one cigarette and half a beer into the night I walked in on my new guilty pleasure, Panther. No, no I didn't walk in on them copulating with their eager fans but I did walk in on a very interesting scene. When I said, "guilty," I didn't mean it in the I don't want anyone to know I like these guys fashion. Instead, I meant it to portray how I felt slightly naughty watching their performance. Naughty, in the best sense of the word. As lead vocalist, Charlie Salas-Humara, romped around on stage the crowd commenced their own romping activities. The gyrating singer mixed with the beat power of the drums made for an excellent, energetic show. Panther, now a newly formed duo with the addition of drummer Joe Kelly, whipped out jerky, pop-rock conglomerations that, when mixed with coke, could potentially blow your head off. Their website,, made a keen observation stating that, "Charlie is Panther, and Panther is some mutant form of Charlie [+ one, Joe Kelly].

Glass Candy

If you're still looking for that perfect way to take off those stubborn extra pounds then I have the workout for you! Glass Candy, another dynamic duo, upped the bar for the evening's festivities. If you have feet or wheels, for those in wheelchairs, and are ready to shake your buns then you must see Glass Candy. Their show was the sensational blend of a classic jazzercise routine and rocking beats. Ida No and Johnny Jewel created their "freestyle" sound using only a synthesizer and a pair of bare feet. If you are what you eat then Glass Candy is a crystalline display of sleek, clean, sweet and tangy melodies.

Architecture in Helsinki

"Give it to me baby!" The "Hold Music" lyric rang true last night as Architecture in Helsinki took the stage. The Bottleneck in Lawrence suddenly transformed into a can of packed sardines. Hordes of loving fans, some too loving (see Side Story Below), came together to celebrate the Thursday night and listen to great music. The headlining band consisted of Cameron Bird, Jamie Mildren, James Cecil, Sam Perry, Gus Franklin and Kellie Sutherland. Following an act like Glass Candy, Architecture in Helsinki rose to the occasion and put on a display of eccentric and electric music. Their myspace page placed them in the "melodramatic popular song, ghettotech, jungle," music category. A suitable category indeed. Their set was upbeat, danceable, and ghettotech-fabulous. It made for a lovely evening.

Side Story Below
*This side story is based on true events. The names of some of those involved have been changed for their protection.*

Crazy Girl #1: Woo! I love Architecture in Helsinki. I'm drunk!
Crazy Girl #2: Hey you should jump on stage and show them how much you love them.
Crazy Girl #1: Okay.
Crazy Girl #1 proceeds to jump on stage and is immediately "gently" nudged off stage by Roady Man.

Kellie Sutherland: (to Roady Man) Hey we can't have crazy people jumping up on stage. That was like having a can of mixed nuts with no pecans in it--bad.
Roady Man: Ten-Four
Kellie Sutherland: (to Crazy Girl #1) Hey come here!
Crazy Girl #1: Okay.
Kellie Sutherland: Please, my dearest fan, in the future think before you leap. Thank you and good day. Oh yeah, and don't fuck with our equipment.
Crazy Girl #1: (looking at Crazy Girl #2) Now I'm drunk and sad.
Crazy Girl#2: Lets make a not so smooth exit from the front row and stomp on everyones' toes as we leave.
Crazy Girl #1: Okay.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Little Blurbs:
Celebration - The Modern Tribe

Do you trust your friends?

That was the question posed earlier this year by Stars, the Canadian based band allowed their friends and associates in bands like Dears, Junior Boys, Final Fantasy, to cover their breakthrough album Set Yourself on Fire from start to finish. The results were mixed, the reviews were mixed, leaving no doubt in my mind that the best possible answer to the question is: depends.

With that in mind, I shall begin the latest installment of Little Blurbs, this time focusing on the Celebration, and their latest album, The Modern Tribe. Little Blurbs about Grizzly Bear and Japancakes are coming soon.

Celebration - The Modern Tribe

(4AD; 2007)

Grade: 68.0%

"Pressure" (mp3)
"Fly the Fly" (mp3)

As I've mentioned in another review, playing spot the influence is a favorite pastime among hipsters, music fans, and blossoming critics alike, but sometimes the game is just too easy, especially when said influences make guest appearances on your latest album. The Modern Tribe, the Baltimore based band's second album, was produced by TV on the Radio's David Sitek (who also produces his own band's fine material), and his fingerprints are all over the album, but even more than his production skills you'll also hear him and the rest of the TVotR gang playing guitars, singing lead and backup vocals, and doing whatever else they were apparently asked to do. The same also goes for Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeah's fame, who also plays guitar on the album. As one might expect, The Modern Tribe sounds very much like those two bands collaborated. It doesn't help that lead singer Katrina Ford spends most of Modern Tribe switching between Karen O's maturing coo ("In This Land"), and Tunde and Kip's rich harmonies ("Pressure").

However, despite the obvious leanings to their friends and contemporaries already established sounds, The Modern Tribe is actually pretty good. The band's reliance on organ and percussion sets them apart from sounding too much like the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, and hearing Tunde and Kip is always a pleasure. "Hands Off My Gold", for example, is one of the album's biggest offenders in the "sounds like TV on the Radio" department, but it also best fits the album's motif. With it's rhythmic percussion the song definitely sounds tribal, while touches of horns, organ, and Tunde's vocals, flesh out the sound, and clearly state what type of modern tribe Celebration are a part of: one that is greatly influenced by the artists around them. At worst, the album sounds like TV on the Radio b-sides sung by Karen O, but at times the album is a celebration of the unity between these bands, and a reminder that great minds think alike.

Should they trust their friends?
Certainly, especially the TV on the Radio gang. Those guys are going places.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Live Review: Caribou

The Bottleneck - Lawrence, KS - 10/22/07

Review by Backdrifter - Photos by Femme Fatale

Caribou, as I knew them, was not the band I saw play Monday night. Granted I’m not very familiar with the Manitoba/Caribou catalog, but the show was more rocking and psychedelic than the band represented on Andorra. The album’s electronic components remained intact. The pop element was, for the most part, replaced with heavy dual drums and loud guitars.

Front man Daniel Snaith switched instruments playing guitar, the electronic equipment, and often a second set of drums. The drums were one of the band’s biggest surprises. Snaith and his band mate pounded out the same rhythm until the walls of the Bottleneck throbbed.

As an added bonus, opener Born Ruffians were energetic and you could tell they were having a great time. I wish I would have been there earlier to catch their entire set, but who could pass up the free beer down the street – thanks SonicRyan and Girlfriend for their wonderful connections.

Born Ruffians:


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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This Little Piggy Went to Jail

Unless you just woke up and haven't browsed the 'net farther than this site or your fantasy football homepage, you've probably heard about the popular torrent site OiNK going the way of the Napster. The site has been shut down by British and Dutch police, Interpol (not the band, we assume) has the servers, and you may or may not be receiving a subpoena in a few months, depending on whether you ever received an invite to the exclusive site and leaked the new Kanye West album.

OiNK, for those of you how may not know, was like the Pitchfork of Torrent sites, except more exclusive. OiNK was an invite only site, and unlike Demonoid, did not have open enrollment periods. And much like how Pitchfork is often the first place to find music news that will later trickle down via other blogs, word of mouth, etc., OiNK was the first place to find leaked albums. It was also, supposedly, a goldmine for anything hard to find. Those of you with with huge appetites for World music but lack a big pocketbook are probably weeping as we speak, but I digress. From OiNK, the more generous users would spread the albums to other torrent sites, message boards, P2P servers, and so forth.

But, just like we would pick up Pitchfork's slack if it were to ever go under, there are plenty of other torrent sites out there ready and waiting, so all of you pirates reading this probably have nothing to worry about, except for that whole possibility of being on the wrong end of a lawsuit thing.

...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - "When We Begin to Steal..." (mp3)

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Featured Concert of the Week

Architecture In Helsinki w/ Glass Candy
Architecture in Helsinki made a splash with 2005's In Case We Die, an album that is best described as pop music for the indie kids that suffer from a severe case of Attention Deficit Disorder. The band's latest album, Places Like This, released last month, sees the band taking a more focused direction, but I can only assume that anything is possible when this band takes the stage.

However, let me be the first to warn you of a possible upstaging that may occur. Let me be clear that I've never seen Architecture in Helsinki live, so I have no idea what they will bring to the table. I have seen Glass Candy twice though, and I know for a fact that they will be bringing their A game. Whether they're playing fuzzed out disco (check out "Beatific", which you can stream/download from their MySpace page) or aping club favorites of yore (think Blondie's "Rapture" minus the rapping, or Indeep's "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life"), Glass Candy will surly have the the Bottleneck's floor bouncing. Though the weather will be cool outside, I highly recommend dressing light 'cause Glass Candy's gonna make you sweat. You've been warned.

Glass Candy - "Rolling Down the Hills (Spring Demo)
(From the After Dark compilation)

Architecture in Helsinki - "The Cemetery"
(From the In Case We Die LP)

Check Out:
Our Review of Places Like This

Want to know who else is coming to the Midwest? Click here.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Have You Heard?

Hot Chip - "Shake a Fist"

Last week Hot Chip announced its third album Made in the Dark is set for a Feb. 4 release. The band's official site promises "rhythmical chaos...soulful introspection...and contemporary widescreen pop." Whatever the latter is, I'm sure it'll bust my bifocals.

Thankfully, in this age of rampant piracy, fans won't have to wait until February. In fact, you don't have to wait at all to hear first single "Shake a Fist." Just bop on over to the band's MySpace and get clickin.

Immediately "Shake a Fist" asserts itself as quintessential Hot Chip, albeit a much darker, more rockin' incarnation. Midway through the song, suavest-nerd-alive Alexis Taylor suggests in a song-stopping voiceover, "This game is called 'Sounds of the Studio'...If you have a pair of headphones, you better get em out and get em cranked up."

Hot Chip is a band that graciously reminds us all that as we get older, being weird/goofy/dorky suddenly makes you cool. That, and, even dorks can dance.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

The Rockabye Baby CD Collection: If You Must Have a Child, It Must Be Cool...

So last week we posted a quiz called "Best Radiohead Lullaby" in honor of a friend/fellow Radiohead fan's new baby. (In case you missed it, "True Love Waits" and "Sail to the Moon" shared the honor.) Well, it looks like some company called Rockabye Baby! beat us to the punch. This is weird...

Rockabye Baby! "transforms timeless rock songs into beautiful instrumental lullabies, sending your little one to a slumberland of sweet dreams." Rockabye Baby! also transforms you into a snivelling sentimentalist, apparently. In any event, on the company's site you can order fetus-friendly takes on everything from Metallica to The Beach Boys to No Doubt to, that's right, Radiohead. Timeless rock, indeed!

You can hear samples of each the album's tracks:

1. No Surprises, 2. Let Down, 3. Subterranean Homesick Alien, 4. Airbag, 5. Paranoid Android, 6. Knives Out, 7. Karma Police, 8. There There, 9. Everything In Its Right Place, 10. 2+2=5, 11. Sail to the Moon.

Hey, look, the album closer is even our quiz co-winner! Nice!

The collection's concept is somewhat charming, though the tracks sound more suited for a cramped elevator or 99-cent ringtone than the ears of your vulnerable infant. The site states, "Kid A imagines the scope and power of music created by a newborn child." Umm, OK, but why don't you just play the child some "Treefingers" via "How to Disappear Completely" and call it a day? Shit, let him hear the whole album! He needs to learn soon enough that the world is a creepy, vacuous place, but that it can also be quite gorgeous and, I don't know, atmospheric?

A final note: The Rockabye Baby! collection also offers a baby-friendly Coldplay CD. Who wants to bet it's just a repackaged copy of X&Y?

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Something Besides Radiohead to Moisten Your Pantaloons? Some New Sigur Ros Should Fit the Bill.

Sorry to be vulgar, but this is Sigur Ros we're talking about. Last month we posted a snippet from the upcoming Sigur Ros documentary Heima. Now the band has posted a track from the accompanying album Hvarf-Heim on its Myspace. Although not recorded until recently, "Hljomalind" was born in the age of Agaetis, so I don't have to tell you it's good. Check out the track's uncharacteristic guitar, which fellow blogger Backdrifter aptly described as "not played with a bow."

According to the band's press release, Heima and double-disc "cousin album" Hvarf-Heim are set for release Nov. 5. The beautiful "Hljomalind" has got me intrigued with the release. It's also got me wanting a new "real" album.

P.S. I am an ungrateful bitch.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Album Review: Radiohead - In Rainbows

Radiohead - In Rainbows

(Note: This review is for the mp3 release. A separate review for the Discbox will be written upon its arrival.)

(Self Released, 2007)

Grade: 94.7

In Rainbows (the album)
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi (mp3)

One day after being "rickrolled" by some jackass with too much time on his/her hands, Radiohead surprised the world with the announcement that their seventh album would be self-released, digitally, in a mere ten days. Okay, maybe the entire world wasn't shocked, as I'm certain there are parts of Africa that could care less about what five British blokes do with their time, let alone their music, but still, you and me and everyone we know had Rainbows on the brain. Personally, I don't think I even counted down the final week to my 21st birthday, but I sure as hell counted down the "release date" for Radiohead's seventh album. Why? Radiohead has a hold on my heart and a special place in my life, all thanks to a bald MTV VJ, a killer performance on the Tonight Show With Jay Leno, and a little album called OK Computer. The excitement over counting down 'til midnight (again like my 21st birthday) for my personal download link was fairly new to me, as the territory was slightly unfamiliar. I am old enough to remember midnight CD release parties at record stores - the last Radiohead release, 2003's Hail to the Thief, was the last album I bought at a midnight sale - but something about mixing old-school impatience with modern technology made Radiohead's experiment something I wanted to be a part of. Knowing that somewhere on this Earth, a million people (or more) would be sharing a similar experience with me made it even more fun. As cool as Radiohead's social experiment was, though, nothing tops the actual album itself, which is easily Radiohead's best album since Kid A, and their most widely accessible since The Bends.

Listening to In Rainbows, even for the first time, it seemed like Radiohead was more comfortable with these songs than with anything they have released in the past decade, which I presume is a direct result of the band spending two years writing, recording, and playing the songs live (nine of them at least; "Nude" has been around for nearly a decade). Yes, a similar approach was used on Hail to the Thief, but the results here are significantly better. Where Hail sounds like Radiohead made a mixtape of their songs disguised as a record, In Rainbows is a cohesive, near flawless Radiohead album.

There are many reasons why In Rainbows is such a fantastic, fascinating listen. Nicole may have covered many of them in a recent post, but bear with me while I muse on a few observations of my own. For starters, In Rainbows is, at times, the most "rock" Radiohead has been in quite some time. Traces of rock have appeared on each of the band's albums since The Bends, but In Rainbows has so much guitar you might think it was released in 1997 rather than 2007, especially on "Bodysnatchers", which is easily Radiohead's most intense and gnarliest song since "Electioneering". Every time I listen to it I can picture Jonny ripping into his guitar strings, while Thom rapidly shakes his head from shoulder to shoulder as he wails, "I'm aliiiiiiiiive!" I bet this song kills live.

Speaking of live Radiohead, after attending a Radiohead concert in 2003, I walked away from the show with the impression that the live versions of Radiohead's songs are funkier, or at least more bass heavy, than their album counterparts. I was pretty fucking high at that show, I'll grant you, but I'm convinced Radiohead noticed it too, as it seems to have bled over onto In Rainbows' production and mixing. Colin Greenwood's bass work is prominent throughout the album, and Radiohead do sound funkier, at times even soulful and sexy, like an R&B band or Portishead's self-titled album. It doesn't hurt that Thom's lyrics are oftentimes playful, even sexual. It is a unique direction for the band, proving that even when they're comfortable and accessible, Radiohead are still capable of throwing a curve ball in our direction.

Lastly, the most fascinating aspect of In Rainbows is, in this writer's humble opinion, just how accessible the album is. Radiohead have spent most of their career making jarring follow-up albums to excellent, sometimes iconic releases. Many of these albums were growers, albeit growers that yielded good vibrations with each listen. Kid A, perhaps the new standard to which albums that divide the fans and the critics are set, was so polarizing upon its release it had more than one major music publication proudly hailing Coldplay as the next Radiohead. And while a rock album with touches of R&B might sound polarizing, I assure you that it is manufactured as one easy-to-swallow pill. The songs are arranged and sequenced perfectly, like jigsaws falling into place. The album is long enough to engage the audience, while short enough not to overstay its welcome. It is also highly addictive, and rewarding. My current favorite, "Reckoner," reveals its beauty more and more with each listen, more so than some of the album's immediately engaging songs ("Weird Fishes/Arpeggi", "All I Need").

As you can probably tell, I am in love with In Rainbows. I feel like a teenager all over again. Somewhere in a different space/time continuum, the younger SonicRyan who did his math homework to OK Computer is smiling. Already my $81 is well spent, and the arrival of my Discbox set is still two months off. I have been listening to this album on repeat since the download completed, following the rainbow. Already I have found several pots of gold, with no end in sight.


It is hard to put into words what constitutes an exceptional album – you just know. This one I knew it right away. It’s in the moments – the ones I’m still anticipating after having heard them a million times, the ones where there is burgeoning meaning behind the vocals, the ones that are comfortably familiar, and the ones I grow to love.

The moments. The entrance of a sleepy guitar on the backdrop of a synthetic beat. The pure Radiohead rock song where Thom really loses himself. “I’ve seen it coming/I’ve seen it coming.” The isolated falsetto in a song I fell in love with years ago. The wavy, creepy strings. The slow building of distant howls backed by a whirling guitar. The personal lyrics finally let out of the bottle since The Eraser. “I’m in the middle of your picture.” The catchy melodic upbeat acoustic heavily orchestrated number. The drums hiding in the off-beats. The parts that stick in my head and slip loose when no one is around. “Because we separate/it ripples in our reflection.” The expansive, smoldering melody that took awhile, but now cannot seem to get out of my head. The OK Computer droned voices. The organic looped toward its exacted purpose. It’s in the moments.


I was waiting for an old friend. It had been years since I’d seen her, left her blistered and angry, a little weathered. Before she’d worn dark half-moons under her eyes, carried self-loathing in frail bones. She never looked so beautiful. Now I wondered how time would mark its passage upon her in undetectable but certain ways, like the inching of the long arm on a clock. I knew nothing. I knew she would not disappoint.

For days I’ve breathed nothing but Radiohead. I’ve craved nothing else. I’ve prowled the Internet, scraped my knees on the album’s tiniest criticisms. I’ve championed “House of Cards” after seeing it spurned, like that summer a boyfriend said orange wasn’t my color and I vowed to prove otherwise. I’ve sung caricatures of “Reckoner” with friends. Doodled rainbows on faded receipts. I’ve stirred the coals of conversation with my squat grocery-checkout hermaphrodite, to whom I evinced that the new album was, for lack of a more concise companion to my linking verb, amazing.

Already I fear my friend’s absence. I fear the moment I’ve traversed every haunted inch, explored each crook of an elbow, sung her in the car, out screamed the rain, falling in love, falling from love, falling in.


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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It's Coming!

Our review for In Rainbows is on its way, I swear. Until then, here's something I found while floating around the internet, the original leak of Arpeggi that hit the net a month or so back. It is very, VERY different than the album version. Personally, I'm glad they changed it. I'll let you judge for yourself.

Arpeggi (mp3)

Happy waiting!

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Tim & Eric + "My Butt" + The Shins = What?

This might be the greatest shoutout on the Shin's behalf since Garden State. As I watched Adult Swim last night, a prompt appeared on the screen, asking me to scrounge YouTube for, you guessed it, "Tim & Eric," "My Butt," and "The Shins." Little monkey that I am, I followed orders and found this nugget of insanity:

As much as I love the Shins, Adult Swim, I don't need your help finding videos of indie-popsters singing about wiping their butts. What I need from you are new Tim and Eric episodes.

Note that the person responsible for posting said video is named "The Taintster." Sigh.

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Area Concerts (Updated October 16th)

Featured Concert: Caribou w/ Born Ruffians

Though the recently posted clips of Caribou performing live in Dan Snaith's trippy home studio (check out "Melody Day" and "She's The One") are perfectly fine for killing time on a lunch break, I for one cannot wait until next week's show at the Bottleneck in Lawrence. Tickets are a measly $9, so why not check it out. Caribou's blissful psychedelic/electronic/pop sound will surly cure your unruly case of the Mondays, even if you skip the cheap beer at Lawrence's very own Free State Brewery.

16 - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ the Granada (Lawrence, KS)
17 - Scout Niblett, Monta @ the Record Bar (Kansas City, MO)
17 - Shout Out Louds w/ Johnossi, Nico Vega @ the Jackpot (Lawrence, KS)
17 - Drive-By Truckers @ the Granada (Lawrence, KS)
19 - Captured by Robots @ the Brick (Kansas City, MO)
20 - Rogue Wave w/ Port O'Brien @ the Bottleneck (Lawrence, KS)
20 - Polyphonic Spree w/ Rooney, the Redwalls @ the Granada (Lawrence, KS)
21 - Henry Rollins @ Liberty Hall (Lawrence, KS)
22 - Bob Dylan w/ Elvis Costello @ Fox Theater (St. Louis, MO)
22 - Caribou w/ Born Ruffians @ the Bottleneck (Lawrence, KS)
22 - 1990s w/ Love Like Fire, Brilliant Geographers (Kansas City, MO)
22 - Ween @ the Pageant (St. Louis, MO)
22 - Nada Surf w/ Sea Wolf @ The Gargoyle Club (St. Louis, MO)
23 - Bright Eyes @ Lied Center (Lawrence, KS)
24 - Minus the Bear w/ Helio Sequence, Tiny Vipers @ the Granada (Lawrence, KS)
24 - Bob Dylan w/ Elvis Costello, Amos Lee @ Carver Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, IA)
25 - Architecture in Helsinki w/ Glass Candy, Panther @ the Bottleneck (Lawrence, KS)
25 - Atmosphere w/ Grayskul, Mac Lethal, Lucki.I.Am @ the Granada (Lawrence, KS)
25 - Head of Femur @ The Bluebird (St. Louis, MO)
25 - Love As Laughter @ The Picador (Iowa City, IA)
27 - Melt Banana @ 2 Cents Plain (St. Louis, MO)
29 - The Fiery Furnaces w/ Pit-Er-Pat @ Blueberry Hill's Duck Room (St. Louis, MO)
29 - Yellow Swans w/
Raccoo-oo-oon, Lwa @ The Picador (Iowa City, IA)

Read the whole list here.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Don't Tell Anyone You Don't Own...

Portishead - Portishead

(Go Beat!, 1997)

As I sifted through my ITunes looking for something non-Radiohead to listen to and/or write about, I never anticipated I'd settle on Portishead. When Ryan and I dreamt up this "Don't Tell Anyone..." section, we decided not to write about albums fewer than ten years old. Perhaps that's why I settled on Portishead, the band's second album, and as impatient fans are eager to point out, its most recent. Settle down, cowboys: if the trickle of news stories are to be believed, the newest Portishead is finally in the mixing stage.

As we prepare for a new Portishead, it seems fitting to revisit the haunting Portishead. The album is perfect fall listening, as "Half Day Closing" and "Humming" make perfect additions to any Halloween playlist. And "All Mine" doesn't make for a half-bad Slut's Secret commercial, it turns out. (Quiz: Advertising that's ruined a song for you? Oh, Of Montreal...) While 94's Dummy was a far bigger commercial success, the combination of Beth Gibbons' vocals and Geoff Barrow's triphop are at their chilling height on their second effort. Perhaps this is why they chose to make this album the band's namesake?

P.S. Apparently all the recent Radiohead hype has gotten ole Geoff in a tizzy. On his official blog, Geoff rants, "Music for free is it? well fuking great. so if you get our album for nothing or very little , does that mean i can get my boiler fixed for free... --------i could tell the plumber that its all for the love of sharing and its to combat the evil money grabbing corperation that is zanussi." Yikes, sounds like the two 'heads could go to war with each other. Radiohead hype, eh? We wouldn't know anything about that.

P.S.S. I've been listening to "Undenied" so loudly, the bass just jiggled our ice machine. I can report that the subsequent sound of crashing ice chunks provided fine accompaniment.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Have You Heard?

Radiohead -
In Rainbows

There's been a lot of talk about Radiohead changing the music industry with their latest album. By thumbing their nose at record labels and leaking their own album, they've eliminated the middle man and kept the focus on the music. Nothing about the album's release has been traditional -- but is this so jaw-dropping for a band like Radiohead?

Certainly nipping the record label and traditional release allowed the band to pull the wool over everyone's eyes and launch the biggest (and perhaps only) surprise in today's music scene. Subsequently nipping professional reviewers also kept the album under wraps (Head on over to and check out this nifty diagram about album leaks). In the upcoming weeks we will see how critics approach this issue. Ordinarily they have months to dissect a new album before publishing a review on the album's release date. Now that Radiohead have pulled the rug out from under everyone, will critics rush to write reviews, or will they give the album time to simmer? Will they publish their reviews on some yet-to-be-determined date, or will they wait until the CD comes out in March? If the CD doesn't come out until 2008, is the album's official release date 2007 or 2008?

These questions and more have riddled me this week. I for one want time to digest the album. That said, here are some random musings I've entertained so far, in no particular order:

This kinda sounds like The Eraser. This sounds like the Bends-era
b-side "Palo Alto". This sounds like "Let Down," but not really. This
sounds really soulful. This is the band's most tuneful work since OK
. This part sounds like "Hail to the Thief." I thought someone said "Arpeggi" leaked and it kinda sucked; someone should shoot that idiot. I feel really emotional right now. This sounds like "Electioneering" guitar. All of these songs have lyrics. Some of these lyrics remind me of The Eraser; Thom really accessed his emotional side recording that solo album. I don't know if I agree with Thom that this is the "creepiest" album they've ever made... OK, getting eaten by worms and weird fishes is creepy. Thom is rocking those vocals. Thom sounds like a lounge singer. This sounds like Beck's Sea Change. This sounds like "Wolf at the Door." Those drums sound really far away. Those loops are perfect. I wonder what Josh will think of what they did to "Nude." I wonder what I think about what they did to "Nude." The last song just blew my mind. I have the chills. So that amazing ending we heard on that teaser came from "All I Need"! This new album is amazing. Maybe I should have paid $81. I want to listen to it again. And again. And again.

Wow, a Radiohead freewrite can be highly cathartic. I recommend it.

One last note: by forgoing the traditional release format, Radiohead have yet to reveal the album's official album art. Once again, this has thrown the industry into turmoil. Apparently fans have started making their own covers for the album, a trend I continued here. What do you guys think? Should we have a create-your-own-In-Rainbows-cover contest?

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Phew! Panda Bear Didn't Forsake Me BY CHOICE.

After two people attempted to procure me the live Panda Bear DVD to no avail, I was pleased to hear that I (and you!) can now access the material online. Apparently good ole PB and some guy named Mike couldn't keep up with demand (which explained the initial shift from no charge to a $5 charge) and decided to give up trying. But as all those folks who still purchase music know, sometimes there's no substitute for holding that beautifully packaged creation in your hands. Nonetheless, get ye to yonder site.

P.S. Those who got roped into paying the $5 should receive a refund ASAP, if this Mike fellow can be trusted.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

If Grateful Dead Fans Are "Dead Heads," Does That Make Radiohead Fans "Head Heads"?

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I Just Downloaded In Rainbows

I have only listened to half of it, but it is good. Very good. I sincerely hope you too are listening. As for me, I'm feeling fine...

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Album Review: Beirut - The Flying Club Cup

Beirut - The Flying Club Cup

(Ba Da Bing!, 2007)

Grade: 78.4

"The Penalty" (mp3)

"It's your move," my opponent tells me as he pulls several new tiles out of a nearby silk bag. His reminder recovers my senses from a daydream. The culprit, the latest Beirut album, The Flying Club Cup, is nearly a quarter finished, yet already I am daydreaming. Though I am not impressed, I dare not voice my displeasure to his face, instead refocusing my attention on the Scrabble board that sits on the coffee table that separates us. Before I study my tiles I must check my opponent's previous move. I grimace at the newly added cliquot. All seven letters used, placed on a triple word score to add further insult. The game, like the album, is nearly a quarter finished, yet I am already beat. "You're not going to challenge?" he asks. I consider the option. "The Penalty" begins on the stereo, and instead I resign. I tell him he played a great game as we sweep the tiles back into the silk bag. What I wanted to say was much harsher.

The charmed young man departs for the streets, bottle of wine in one hand, mandolin in the other. I watch him from the window. He pulls his collar up as the snow falls and takes a swig from the bottle. I decide to retire for the evening and cozy up to my lover as "Forks and Knives (La Fete)" plays softly in the background. The warm bed makes everything better. Even the music, despite its low volume, charms my ears for the first time. I suppose I was wrong about you, I think to myself as I drift into a deep sleep. The music continues its passage into my ears, into my head. I hear a voice calling me, it is the young man from a few moments earlier. He looks the same, yet somehow I am clothed and my shoddy apartment transformed into a deli. Confused, I accept his offer to lead me back home. Together we wander through cities I have only seen in PBS documentaries and Jean-Pierre Jeunet films. I am amazed, and suddenly it becomes apparent that I am dreaming. No longer eager to return home, we decide to take a hot air balloon over the coast of Italy. I weep at the sight. To the North, everything. To the South, everything else. I thank the young man for his kindness, and for showing me the world as I had never seen it before. "I only brought the balloon", he replied, "you did the rest."

It is morning when my lover wakes me up, and though I normally prefer to sleep in on Sunday mornings, this moment feels appropriate. "Its been a long time since I've seen you smile," she says. I kiss her as gently as the needle does a record, and play the album again so the two of us can fly together.

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Album Review: Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends

Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends

(French Kiss, 2007)

Grade - 79.5%

Pots & Pans

A disclaimer: Before hearing Les Savy Fav's latest Let's Stay Friends, I had been diggin' on singles collection Inches (2004) and merely flirted with the more dance-infused Go Forth (2001). Writing a competent review for this album became increasingly difficult. As I visited the band's back catalog, I found myself mystified, intrigued, and completely won over.

Occasionally a friend or acquaintance will say in defense of a band, "But they're really good live..." I suppose I've always found such claims bordering on bullshit. If said band is so incredible live, why don't they make an effort to achieve this level of brilliance on their albums -- the place where the songs are set in stone, the place where they are most often encountered, whether driving in the car, over dinner, echoing in the background of idle conversation? Then I encounter a band like Les Savy Fav and it all makes sense.

You see, I read a post recently that observed how amazing it is that a "morbidly obese" man could belt out such impressive vocals. Morbidly obese, you say? I had to look into that. This was when I uncovered this:

(from, whatever the fuck that is)

And this:


And don't forget this:


One more, pretty pretty please?:


The Internet is literally rife with images of Tim Harrington in his underwear. I can attest that, after witnessing a few terribly rendered YouTubes, followed by fans' lamenting the band's absence from the tour circuit, I started wishing I weren't such a johnny(err, jenny?)-come-lately. I've also been left wondering how, after seeing one of the best concerts of the year, I could possibly whine about missing the brief LCD/Arcade stint with LSF. So it goes.

So what's the scoop on the new Les Savy Fav? you ask. This is an album review, after all. Well if you're a fan of Inches like myself, Friends should keep you from yawn, yawn, yawning. There are songs that evoke "Meet Me in the Dollar Bin" ("Patty Lee") and "Hello Halo, Goodbye Glands" ("Brace Yourself"). You'll find your throw-a-chair-at-the-wall punk anthems a la "The Equestrian" or "The Year Before the Year 2000." Friends offers some surprises, too. Opener "Pots & Pans" is a remarkably slow builder (for the band), and one of the album's highlights. "Comes and Goes," featuring Eleanor Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces, was intriguing (for both LSF and FF), if not altogether at home with the other tracks on the album.

Ultimately Let's Stay Friends may not be the stampeding ruckus superfans expected to herald the band's return, but it's attracted this jenny-come-lately, and I suspect many others, too.

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