Friday, November 30, 2007

Hipsters Unite!

Careening about the net today, I found these images. Thought you all might find them as funny as I do...

This one demonstrates perfectly the two hipsters as defined in my Pitchfork Fest write-up: the hipster-by-design vs. the "real" hipster. The fellow on the left evokes a Jack White/Conor Oberst amalgamation. On the right, Sam Beam goes canyoneering.

This one is just funny. Though, to the Decemberists credit, they didn't put out an album this year (or DID they?). There's only one problem with this one. Does this guy look like a hipster to any of you? Maybe he's going for a Frank Black thing... or Black Francis.... or whatever.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Keep Reading...

Staff List!

Femme Fatale created a monster. Her idea to do a Top 10 Albums of 2006 post was such a hit, we've decided to do a few more Best of Lists before we hunker down and make one for 2007. Which brings us to, drumroll please...

Our Favorite Albums of 2005!

Ryan's Favorite Albums of 2005:

First, let me begin by saying that, in retrospect, 2005 was a pretty good year for new releases. Somehow, as the year reached its end, I found myself unimpressed with the titles I had surrounded myself with, but here I am two years later, and I often catch myself listening to many of the albums I'm about to list more than (most of) the albums that made my 2006 list. I suppose that's saying something, right?

10). Spoon - Gimme Fiction
Brit, you had me at "don't say a word" years ago, and your hooks keep me coming back.

9). Animal Collective - Feels
Not as warm and snuggly as Sung Tongs, nor as accessible as everyone made it out to be (myself included) at the time. It does, however, hold several of my favorite songs from 2005 in "The Purple Bottle"and "Did You See the Words," the latter also being one of the best side one/track one's in recent memory.

8). Sigur Rós - Takk...
No, no, thank you good sirs, for warming things up with this album. ( ), as good as it is, feels a bit impersonal at times. Takk..., on the other hand, not only sounds brighter, it also kinda rocks!

7). Akron/Family - Akron/Family
The biggest surprise of '05 for me. This album came out of nowhere and had to fight for attention among other solid releases, yet it managed came out ahead over many of those other albums. This album is such an underrated album, though I think, two years later, they're finally getting the attention they rightfully deserve.

6). My Morning Jacket - Z
I have to admit, I never got in to My Morning Jacket until Z, which makes it official: Z is MMJ's most accessible album. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

5). Sleater-Kinney - The Woods
Fucking. Intense. The one-two punch of "Let's Call it Love" and "Night Light" to end the album, which became their last, is about as perfect as it gets.

4). The Decemberists - Picaresque
In my opinion, not only one of my favorites from 2005, but also my favorite Decemberists album. I'm a fan of the expansive production, as it works well for the polished pop songs like "The Sporting Life" and "We Both Go Down Together", and also makes a song like "The Bagman's Gambit" a headphone wonder.

3). Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
The hype has died down, so why do I still like this album so much? It's the songs, I guess.

2). Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
Had you asked me at the end of 2005 which album I thought was the best of the year, I would have begrudgingly said Illinois. I say begrudgingly because despite how incredibly amazing this album is - and it is absolutely stellar - it's not nearly as fun for me to listen to as my number one. Stevens' lyrics are quite captivating, you truly get to know the state of Illinois first hand and get familiar with a wide array of characters throughout the album's 22 tracks. He also gets creative with the music, exploring ballads and hard rock, pop, folk, even a hint or two at musical theater. You know, maybe this album is pretty fun, but it's still not as fun as...

1). Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene
This album is fun. Lots of fun. I will always associate this album with either (a) the incredible, life altering Broken Social Scene concert at the Granada in Lawrence on Halloween night, or (b) the time I danced in my living room wearing only my underwear with a certain girlfriend as this album provided the soundtrack. Both of those nights were fun, more than fun. More fun than a barrel full of monkeys, monkeys that are having fun! As a result I can't help but have a good time when I'm listening to this album. You would, too, believe me. "7/4 Shoreline" has been one of my favorite songs, period, since I first heard it while washing dishes in my ant infested apartment, and the trio of "Windsurfing Nation," "Swimmers," and "Hotel" are perfect for scuffing up hardwood floors. Okay, I admit this might not technically be the best album of its year, but it's still easily the most enjoyable, and my favorite of 2005.


Jenna's Favorite Albums of 2005:

This year was an outstanding one for albums and I must say making this list was not easy. I have compiled of list of standouts, classics, and the often under appreciated hidden jewels. My list is confined to 10 but there are many other great albums of 2005. I only wish I had time to talk about them all. If you haven't heard some of these albums yet or have only listened to a few songs I strongly advise you to dedicate some time to each and every one of these jim-dandy albums. Here it goes folks! Enjoy the list.

10. Michael Jackson - The Essential CDs 1 and 2
This collection of songs truly consists of the "essential" tunes from the Jackson era. Great hits from the Jackson 5 like "I Want You Back" and "Blame It On The Boogie," are sprinkled in with some of Michael Jackson's better known classics. This album highlights some of Jackson's earlier solo days with the songs "Billie Jean" and "Beat It." Features of his later work include "Black or White," "Remember The Time," and "Man In The Mirror." If you don't have any Jackson albums in your collection this one is a must as it encompasses the wide spectrum of his career.

9. The Boy Least Likely To - The Best Party Ever
This album is one of my hidden jewels on the list. Not hidden in the sense that no one has heard of these guys, in fact they were on many top lists for 2005, but in the sense that I had no idea who they were. I found this album on my iTunes one day and was immediately hooked after the first song. It was exactly what I was in the mood for, upbeat, energetic, silly lyrics and just plain fun. "Warm Panda Cola," "I'm Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon To Your Star" and "Hugging My Grudge" are a few of my favorite songs.

8. Animal Collective - Feels
Oh the joys of childrens' laughter, bees, ducks, flesh canoes and grass. Oh the joy that Animal Collective's Feels brings me. Feels makes me feel special inside. I love this album. Enough said.

7. Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene
"Hotel," need I say more? Okay, I'll say a wee bit more. I like to pretend I'm as cool as Kevin Drew is when he says, "Check it," at the beginning of "Hotel." I like to pretend I'm one of their long lost band members when I listen to this album and sing along to it in the car. I like to pretend I'm dating the Bandwitch. What? I can dream, can't I?

6. Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production of Eggs
This multi-faceted musician has created a splendid album full of goodness gracious great balls of fire. This album is lovely for almost any occasion. Naps, car rides, lazy afternoons... You name it and Andrew Bird has a song to fit your mood. The overall mellow tone of the album may not be good for your 151 parties but for that kind of occassion I refer you to number 7 on my list.

5. Spoon - Gimme Fiction
Spoon's Gimme Fiction says gimme some more of that rock n' roll baby! This album highlights Spoon's ability to be diverse when it comes to their overall sound. Each song has a different tone but the songs certainly don't lose their Spoon-ish flare. Listen to this album during a road trip and it will make time fly. I highly recommend this album! Now that is coming from a girl who almost touched Brit Daniel with her hotdog. (For more information on the near hotdogging incident you can email me.)

4. Imogen Heap - Speak for Yourself
My neighbors must hate me for belting this album at the top of my lungs. Oh well, at least I'm exposing them to good music, right? Sadly, I didn't see this album on many top lists for 2005. I suppose its understandable considering she had competition like M.I.A., Ladytron, and LCD Soundsystem. Imogen displays her wide vocal and musical ranges in this album. Standouts of the album are "Hide and Seek," "Goodnight and Go," and "Just For Now."

3. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
Are you wearing your dancing shoes? Well, you better get them strapped on and guzzle your energy drink so you can dance your ass off again and again with LCD Soundsystem's self titled album. Just when you think you're getting tired after shaking your grove thang to songs like "Tribulations" and "Thrills" you can start the second disc. Yep LCD Soundsystem is a two disc wonder romp.

2. Feist - Let It Die
If you've ever found yourself searching for that perfect study album, search no more! This album was a gift from my boyfriend before I spent a long gruelling two weeks studying for and taking finals. I listened to this album on average twice a day for those two weeks and never got sick of it. I'd say I was impressed with Feist. Feist's work kept me interested the entire time. This album has the hit "Mushaboom," a tribute to the BeeGees with "Inside and Out," and so much more.

1. My Morning Jacket - Z
This album is incredible. The magic begins with the opening chords as they draw you in with expectation. My Morning Jacket exceeded my expectations with this gem of an album. Although this album is spectacular musically it is at the top of my list purely for sentimental reasons. It reminds me of so many grand and not so grand events in 2005. Walking home from class, sitting at a friend's house conversing and listening to music, making love, breaking up with friends, the whole shebang of 2005. I recall my first time hearing this album. It was "Wordless Chorus" and "It Beats 4 U" that caught my attention as I asked a friend, "Who is this?" From that moment on My Morning Jacket's Z became part of my routine.


Chad's Favorite Albums of 2005:

2005 was a phenomenal year filled with great music from some of my favorite artists. This list represents how I feel at this point in time. I’m excited to see what my 2007 list (coming soon!) will look like compared to how it will look two years later. Some albums lose their luster after awhile and others creep up on you and hook you years later. It’s also cool to see the powerhouse bands on my list that will be high up there this year, proving their superiority.

In a very particular order…

10. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
-This would have been near the top of the list had I written it in ‘05

9. Spoon - Gimme Fiction

8. The Decemberists - Picaresque

7. Sigur Ros - Takk

6. Doves - Some Cities

5. The National - Alligator
-It took until this year before I got into this album.

4. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

3. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema

2. Sleater-Kinney - The Woods
-It’s sad to see them go. They sure went out with a bang!

1. Animal Collective - Feels
-These guys can do no wrong in my eyes!


Nicole's Favorite Albums of 2005:

Is anyone still reading this? I certainly hope so, because this, ladies and gentlemen, is the definitive list.

10. Clientele - Strange Geometry
This one still gets regular rotation time. Stunning.

9. Sigur Ros - Takk
A cheery Sigur Ros makes a cheery Femme Fatale.

8. Deerhoof - Runners Four
Still my fave from the band, as it's their most rocking. And rock it does.

7. The National - Alligator
This one is a cheat. Note that we saw these guys open for Clap Your Hands in 2005 and I had no idea who they were... now look who's on my list and who's not.

6. Sleater Kinney - The Woods
An absolute roundhouse to the head.

5. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
This one's also a cheat. I didn't discover this album until Sounds of Silver won me over, though in many ways I think the self-titled is superior.

4. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
I didn't get all the hype surrounding this album at first. If Mr. Stevens could get an editor, this one would be higher on my list. Call it the Modest Mouse syndrome...

3. Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene
I think BSS dubbed their sophomore album their namesake because they knew it was their best. I've recently called You Forgot It in People more of an "obvious" album; blasphemy, I know, but the band's second album takes so much more work, attention to detail, discovery. For this listener, that makes it that much more rewarding.

2. Animal Collective - Feels
This is by no means my favorite AC album, but it's the one that hooked me. "Grass" was one of the most amazing songs I'd ever heard before picking up this album, and I stand by that now.

1. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
I fell in love with this album, fast and hard. I can still remember my initial, jumbled emotions. "This is so poppy I can hardly stand it." "Who is this guy singing 'Jackie'? I don't know if I like it." "Those drums are pretty amazing." "Is she saying 'These Are the Fables on Mass Street'? I love Mass Street, too." "The chanting at the end of 'The Bleeding Heart Show' is kind of weird...intriguing...incredible." If you like your pop rockin and your rock poppin, then Twin Cinema is for you (Did I REALLY just write that? Oh well, it's true.)

That's all for now, folks! Stay tuned for more listmania.

Keep Reading...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

An Upstage Battle

Ever been to a concert where the opening act totally mopped the floor with the headliner? If you've been to enough concerts, chances are pretty good that you caught an up and coming band obligated to a supporting role before Pitchfork gave their album an 8.7. Or maybe the headliners were sick, worried about taxes, or too fucked up to perform. Or maybe, just maybe, the opening band was just a better band, plain and simple.

I guess you could say I've been thinking about this very topic since the Range Life staff witnessed an upstaging with our very eyes on Monday night (refer to the previous post for details). But just in case you were wondering, here are a a couple of others that I have seen. Feel free to share your own experiences in our comments section.

Headlining Artist: Beck
Opening/Upstaging Artist: The Flaming Lips

Five years ago, Beck toured across the country with the Flaming Lips, stopping in Lawrence, Kansas for a night. Now, I know that long-time Flaming Lips fans will see this and think, "Why did they ever open for Beck? Should it have been the other way around?" Yeah, probably. But you have to remember, the name Beck sells more tickets, or at least it did in 2002. I know, I know, the Flaming Lips have solidified themselves into the psyche of many Americans thanks to their live shows, but its not like everyone just woke up one day and knew the Flaming Lips were a fucking blast to see live. Many of us had to catch them opening for other bands. Then we had to tell our friends.

The Flaming Lips' live show was pretty much the same as it is now, minus Wayne in his bubble and no UFO. The costumed dancers were there, confetti and balloons were in the air (see above picture), and a giant video screen played clips of kickass Japanese women - yeah yeah! The Lawrence show was on the second leg of the tour, and by most accounts - even Beck's own admission that night - Beck's shows (which featured the Flaming Lips as his backing band, no less) became rowdier and more fun, which tells me he knew deep down that he had to compete with them, if only for the sake of his audience. Early stops on the tour saw Beck playing more off Mutations to fit with the Sea Change mood. That all ended way before they made it to Lawrence. To be fair, Beck's set was pretty awesome, just not as awesome as the Flaming Lips.

Headlining Artist: BRMC
Opening/Upstaging Artist: The Rapture

About six months before my old roommate and I drove to Columbia, Missouri to catch this show, the Rapture played Lawrence opening for the Shins. By all accounts, the Rapture owned the Shins that night. Most people I talked to started to hate on the Shins after that. I wasn't there, so I cannot say for sure whether or not the Shins sucked that night. Instead, I took it as a sign that the Rapture were just fucking amazing live. I was not too far off.

In concert, the Rapture were less glamorous than I imagined. Their music, too, was also a little less glamorous, and a little more raw. But I liked that. The show was at the Blue Note, a venue that's a little grimy, so the dirtier sound fit the aesthetic. Despite not sounding as pristine, the band hit every right note. Their excitement and enthusiasm carried over into the crowd, who danced along to every beat. When Luke Jenner invited people on stage, I jumped (quite literally) at the chance, pulling up other young college age kids along with me. After the song, and back on the floor, things only escalated from there. I danced with everyone. Men, women, it didn't matter. I was too far gone, floating in a constant heaven with hundreds of my new best friends.

BRMC took the stage and played a few new acoustic numbers, not a good way to start if you're trying to keep an audience full of young, horny twenty-somethings entertained. I watched their whole set, and they were alright, but I don't think I've listened to them since.

Keep Reading...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Live Review:
The Besnard Lakes,
Peter Bjorn & John

For some reason I've had a bad attitude about Peter Bjorn and John lately. First there was that post I wrote titled, "Is that PB&J Getting a Little Stale?" Then I shafted Writer's Block from my Best of 2006 list. Then I started telling everyone that I might not be going to the Monday show if Besnard Lakes weren't opening. Well, the Besnard Lakes DID open, and I DID go. When PB&J opened with "Let's Call It Off," my favorite track off Writer's Block, I thought, this isn't so bad. I can stick this out. Imagine my surprise when, minutes later, everyone else in my group wanted to leave.

It's been a long time since I've left a show before its conclusion. Frankly I can't even think of the last time I've failed to stay for an encore, as I typically spurn those who do (or come into shows with a negative attitude). So why was PB&J such a turnoff?

I puzzled over this on the way home, and hubby Backdrifter said it made sense. Why should three guys preening onstage impress us after the five-piece Besnard Lakes wowed us? The final straw was when PB&J played a version of "Amsterdam" that made the Netherlands sound about as interesting as my hometown of Wichita, Kansas. You know that part when they say, "So slow, so slow"? Exactly my sentiments. The band sounded like my tape recorder in .25 playback mode.

So that's the bad news. The good news? The Besnard Lakes more than made up for my miserable time. After their set the band said PB&J was "helping them out" by taking them on tour and boosting their visibility. Oh, Besnard Lakes, you underestimate yourselves.

Check out our video of "Because Tonight," my favorite track on the album -- perhaps my favorite song of the year. We here at Range Life are determined to make The Besnard Lakes a dark horse no more.

The Besnard Lakes:

Peter Bjorn and John (Sorry for the scathing review, guys):

Keep Reading...

Don't Tell Anyone You Don't Own:
The Flaming Lips - Zaireeka

When our friends get together, every once in a while someone will say, "Anyone want to do Zaireeka tonight?" and we'll get that gleam in our eyes. Most of the time we'll laugh it off, recognizing that listening to the album is an event, a challenge, not something you throw together on a whim. Yet in the back of our minds, we're all planning our next foray into the four-disc mind fuck that could only come from Wayne Coyne and Company.

How can listening to an album be a challenge, you ask? For the uninitiated, allow me to explain. Zaireeka was recorded onto four separate discs, each isolating a particular sound element, be it guitar, drums, vocals, static, the sounds of rabid dogs, etc. This means all four discs must be played simultaneously to achieve the full effect. This also means, from a practicality standpoint, you must acquire the following four items (Remember, four is the key number here):

1. Four Zaireeka discs (one album).

2. Four CD players (or other music-playing devices).

3. Four devoted friends with fingers poised on the Play/Stop/Pause

4. Four pounds of patience.

Note: Synching the four discs is nearly impossible, as every CD player requires a different amount of time between hitting "Play" and the song starting. This means 1.) Each listen is different, and 2.) As amazing as Zaireeka is, I still don't know it backward and forward. This also means that even a decade after the album's release, there is always something new to discover, always some unexplored combination of sounds. (Happy 10th Birthday, Zaireeka.)

Once you have assembled the four items (and mind altering substances - optional), you are ready to fly. Go. Do it now. Move around the room while you are listening. Take turns making each disc the focus of your attention. Wallow on the floor during "Driving to Work in the Year 2025 (You're Invisible Now)." Writhe and watch your brain explode during "A Machine in India." Thank me later.

Now, then -- who's up for Zaireeka sometime soon?

Keep Reading...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Music Video:
Minus Story - Stitch Me Up

One of my favorite area bands, Minus Story, just had their latest video for the song "Stitch Me Up" (from this year's slept on My Iron Truss LP) posted on Pitchfork's Forkcast. Good for them, if any local band could use some national exposure, its Minus Story. Here's the video:

Okay, so the video isn't exactly stellar, but the song is good, very good.

Keep Reading...

Range Life Loves The Besnard Lakes

Last night at KC's Madrid Theatre The Besnard Lakes demonstrated not only their prowess on stage, but in dealing with the little people, too. The band hung out post-show to chat and sell/sign records -- oh, and, to pose for pictures with dorks like us.

Hang tight, cause we've got a live review and pics on the way, including a video of the phenomenal "Because Tonight."

Did we mention Are the Dark Horse is one of the best albums of the year?

Keep Reading...

Monday, November 26, 2007


The Peter Bjorn & John show was lovely (that is before they started playing....). The drunkard in front of us didn't make it any better... Besnard Lakes = LOVELY

In all honesty I was looking forward to seeing both bands. Besnard Lakes were a guaranteed good time and I thought PB&J would be the same. Sadly, I was mistaken. The PB&J show was, well, boring. You can see from the pictures below that I was very happy and excited pre-show. Post-show, I was not so happy and excited. The pictures truly explain it all.



Just in case you were wondering I did eat a PB&J for dinner.

Keep Reading...


Last week Femme Fatale and I had the opportunity to sit down and have a beer with Adam Baker and Mike Robinson of the North Carolina band, Annuals. On this night, the last of the band's tour with Manchester Orchestra, we talked about apple pie, Arcade Fire comparisons, and Absinthe, among other things. Despite the fact that our chat occurred only two days before Thanksgiving, and that Adam looked a bit ready to make it back home to see his loved ones (he did officially end the interview by saying, "I have to go write a letter to my girlfriend."), the two young men were extremely engaging and talkative.

Range Life: Today's your last show of the tour, right?

Adam Baker: Yeah, so sad.

Mike Robinson: Not looking forward to going home.

RL: Do you like being on the road?

AB:I’d rather be on the road than at home.

RL: You guys have been compared to all kinds of different bands and I’m wondering if that’s just because your sound is so unique that they’re having trouble approximating it. I was also wondering if there were a few bands you’ve seen yourself compared to where you think, “What?”

AB: There’s been a couple, not to name any names. I’d like to think its because we have unique music and its hard to compare it to anything, but its relatively the same.

MR: Most of the time we get compared to somebody, its always pretty much a good thing. That’s how you connect other bands. Its like,“what do they sound like?” and name some other band.

RL: I recently saw you compared to Broken Social Scene. I though that was an interesting one.

MR: Yeah, yeah. I didn’t really get that one.

RL: I didn’t really get that one either. When I first saw "Brother" posted on Pitchfork over a year ago, they mentioned Animal Collective and Arcade Fire.

MR: That’s the one we get a lot, yeah.

RL: Arcade Fire?

MR: Yeah.

AB: That’s like, that’s like the biggest one.

MR: I’m pretty happy about that one, though. I think it's probably just because of the multi-instrument thing, because they switch up on stage.

RL: It seems like any band that does that anymore gets Arcade Fire comparisons.

MR: Well, they were the first to get big.

AB: Who do they get compared to?

RL: Uh…the Cure. Talking Heads.

AB: Aw, I wanna get Talking Heads. (Laughs). Damn! Those are good comparisons, please!

RL: I’ll lie and say David Byrne was here if you want.

AB: That’s a damn good comparison!

RL: David Byrne and Robert Smith are in the corner watching Annuals play…

AB: Singing every word.

RL: I know you guys are a younger band. How does that work with you playing in a lot of clubs and bars?

MR: Well, I’m 23.

RL: Do you buy all the beer for the band?

AB: There’s only one under (21), it’s, uh, Kenny the guitar player. He’s 20. Soon we won’t have anyone underage. So...yeah, yeah, finally. Usually they don’t give a shit anyway. Me and Kenny, pretty much we were the only underage ones while we were on tour, right?

MR: When we were first starting out, yeah.

AB: Yeah. But they (the venues) never really gave a shit though, just because they just assume most times. Unless they’ve read their interweb lately.

RL: Did anybody celebrate their 21st birthday on the road?

AB: Uh, Anna did.

MR: I did, Adam did.

AB: In a venue that flooded.

MR: Yeah, yeah, that’s right.

RL: In a venue that what?

AB: A venue in England that flooded out. The night we played it was raining a lot. If you wanted to watch the show you would have had to stand in about 2 inches of water.

RL: Was it an indoor venue?

AB: It was indoor, it was in the basement of a really bad venue. We got some absinthe there, though. That was awesome.

RL: What was absinthe like?

AB: I don’t remember, honestly. It gets you pretty quick. It's green. It kinda tastes like licorice a little bit.

RL: Do you have to pour it over sugar, like a sugar cube?

AB: No, we just drank it from bottle because they left us in the bar unsupervised. Just took a bottle of Absinthe.

MR: Didn’t somebody bring a bottle home?

AB: I think Anna did?

MR: Yeah, she did.

AB: Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! There’s that thing you guys were looking for. (Into tape recorder) I mean she did not bring home [a bottle], no, not at all.

RL: What are you guys going to do on break?

AB: Record. And I think we’re playing South by Southwest, but other than that we’re recording and relaxing.

RL: I’m curious. I know that you have two EPs out right now, the one that’s digital only and there’s one that you can only get on tour that you guys did with Manchester Orchestra. Why did you guys decide to go with that unique distribution for those two?

MR: Um, that was pretty much a label idea.

AB: It wasn’t our choice I would can’t…no, nevermind, I’m not gonna…

MR: What?

AB: I was gonna…talk about our cards.

MR: Oh, the little drop card things?

AB: Yeah.

RL: Cards?

AB: We’re selling these little cards at the merch table since it’s a digital EP, just a little decorated card with a link on the back and the passcode...but then you can’t pop that in the car after the show, you know?

RL: Well, I heard that you guys are being called a “blogger’s band,” so is that an attempt to reach out to the online…

AB: I think it's an attempt to make as much money as possible for the label because they don’t have to pay for anything but some little cards.

RL: Well, what’s your preferred media. I mean, are you fans of CDs or vinyl, or...

AB: CDs.

MR: Yeah, CDs. If we could do just a tape, that’d be cool.

RL: I’m really beginning to think that the next wave of, like, kitschy music listening - not that vinyl is kitschy...

MR: It’s going to be cassette tapes. Of course it is. It's all going to go back.

RL: We’re working on our top albums of the year, and we’re wondering what you guys would say are some of your favorite albums of the year.

MR: The new Radiohead.

RL: Yeah, we’re big fans.

AB: The new Between the Buried and Me. They’re a metal band from North Carolina. What else? The new Coheed (and Cambria). It’s a good record, you gotta listen to it more than once.

RL: You toured with Blonde Redhead this year, how did that go?

AB: That was probably one of my favorite tours because they’re, like, since I was a little kid, one of my favorite bands.

MR: Yeah, they’re amazing. And they’re such nice people.

AB: And they have the cutest little dog too.

RL: Oh, I’ve seen pictures of it.

AB: Colette.

MR: Colette! It was pretty funny, though, seeing them in their huge tour bus and we’re in our old dinky Dodge van.

AB: They’re pulling dirt bikes out of their trailers.

MR: Yeah, they’re pulling bikes and shit out of their trailers.

AB: Busting out the hackey sack.

MR: We get out we have, like, a trailer full of instruments and stuff, and no recreational vehicles.

RL: God forbid you use those instruments, though.

MR: Yeah, I know.

RL: Thanksgiving is this week, what is your favorite pie?

MR: Pie? Apple pie.

AB: Pizza pie.

RL: Pizza pie! Very nice. I think this is going to have to become our new staple question.

AB: You’ll probably get some pretty lewd answers though. Things involved with pie. Pie is a very sexual…

(Ed. Note: As Adam was talking I noticed Mike was looking at the tape recorder. At this point I picked it up to check and see if the recorder is still taping the conversation.)

MR: It’s still going, I was just making sure the light was still on. I didn’t see it for a second, I was like…

RL: Thanks for looking out for us.

MR: No problem.

AB: Well, there was one time in Ireland where we did an hour interview together. (To Mike) Remember that?

MR: Yeah.

AB: And the guy didn’t have the tape on the whole time.

MR: He was supposed to be recording the entire thing.

AB: It was like the longest interview ever, and at the end of it he was like, “can we do that again, man?” He asked every single question over again.

MR: That’s the reason why I was checking.

RL: I really want to know, was there any particular band, song, or album that made you wake up one day and decide you wanted to play an instrument?

AB: I think, no, it wasn’t a CD or artist or record or anything, it was actually the first time I went and saw a show in a small venue. My dad took me to see my drum instructor’s – well, I had been playing drums just because my dad had played drums – but he took me to a live show and I heard the drum kit through the house, at a little place called the Brewery back home. And it sounded so fucking, insanely good I almost pissed my pants, and then I decided I had to play on stage for the rest of my life.

RL: That’s an answer right there!

MR: Pretty good answer, actually.

AB: Is that good?

RL: I just listened to a lot of Smashing Pumpkins and was like, “I guess I could try playing guitar.” I like yours better. And your drum instructor, that’s way cool.

AB: He was in a band called the Nickel Slots.

RL: At least they told you it was “slots” when you were younger, right? Do you still talk to him?

AB: No, he lives in Virginia now. Plus, he was, like, ten years older than me. We weren’t “bros,” he just wanted another head to come to his show.

RL: So you guys are recording after this tour?

AB: Yeah, like immediately, I mean we’ve been recording, we just have to finish everything up.

RL: Are you playing new material at these shows?

MR: We’re playing one new song that’s going to be on the next record.

RL: Do you rehearse new material at sound check?

AB: No. At sound check we just (long pause) sound check. We just play the songs that we play during the show.

MR: Pretty much before every tour we just practice a certain number of songs just so we’re solid and everything. We just don’t want to be playing songs and be sloppy on stage.

AB: Because we already look sloppy enough.

RL: What do you guys do when you’re not on the road? Do you have jobs?

MR: I don’t know, I’ll probably end up doing a couple of classes, because I’m only one class away from having my graphic design degree, and I haven’t done that in, like, two years now because we’ve been doing this. It's like I’ve pretty much forgotten most of the things I’ve been taught, and so I have to go back and relearn stuff and then hopefully get a job with it.

RL: Was it pretty unexpected at first when you guys started getting recognition?

MR: Pretty much. Yeah, it pretty much just started from nowhere. The label came up, and then it just started escalating.

RL: Do you have any creepy superfans?

AB: Um….there’s a few.

MR: I’m my own creepy superfan. I’m a big fan of myself.

AB: There’s no one that’s really crazy. There are very, very excited people sometimes.

MR: Maybe a little too excited sometimes, but it's still good.

RL: Like when you get those drunk people that maybe love you a little too much.

MR: (chuckles) Most of our crowd is a bunch of drunks.

AB: Since we’re headlining, everyone’s had the whole show to get tanked. It’s different if you’re the opening band; I remember when we were opening for bigger shows and people would come up, “Hey, that was great show, I’m very intrigued with your music.” But if you’re headlining its like, “Jiiiiiiiiim...” (makes vomiting noise).

MR: And they just throw up all over you. Then it’s like, “Wow, I did a great job tonight. Some guy just threw up on me.”

Here are a couple more candid photos of Mike (left) and Adam (right). If you crave more to satisfy your Annuals fix, don't forget we have a live review of their show later that evening, accompanied by a video of the band performing "Fair".

Keep Reading...

Live Pics:
Le Castle Vania

Atlanta's very own Le Castle Vania made a Thanksgiving week trek through the Midwest, including a stop in Springfield, Missouri, where our good buddy Joshwa caught his DJ set. Of the show, Joshwa said: "guy doesn't know how to play springfield. we're a fickle fucking bunch."

Don't hate the player, Joshwa, hate the game.

Joshwa also shot a quick, unrelated video out in the parking lot after the show. It looks like a new extreme sport. I think they're calling it The Sport Where You Slide Across the Hood of Someone's Car Before the Car's Rightful Owner Catches You. We at the Range Life office are intrigued by this new sport that's sweeping the Midwest, but hope someone comes up with a better name for it.

Keep Reading...

Featured Concert:
Peter Bjorn & John
w/ The Besnard Lakes

If you haven't heard the infectious diddy "Young Folks" by now, you best claw your way out of that cave and head to the Madrid Theatre tonight. "Objects of my affection" Peter Bjorn and John will give you "the chills" as they throw you "up against the wall" until you "start to melt." In Paris 2004, you poor cow.... all right, I've got nothing.

If effervescent pop isn't your thing, how about some ambient rock? The Besnard Lakes are opening, which for this listener is the real clincher. If you like songs that swell and simmer and inch themselves inside you, check these guys out.

Two great bands, one fantastic venue -- we'll see you tonight.

Check out all upcoming shows here.

Keep Reading...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Live Review:

The Bottleneck - 11/20/07 - Lawrence, Kansas

Despite a low pre-Thanksgiving turnout, Annuals played the Bottleneck like it was packed by a sold out crowd. Lawrence was their final show of the tour, and the band emerged tired but ready for one last night of revelry.

Within seconds of opener “Complete or Completing” Annuals sprang to life. They followed up with “Nah Kaseyi,” a Be He Me discard that, for a B-side, testifies to the band's talent. Frontman Adam Baker showed off not only his vocal range but his drumming chops on “Fair” and “Ease My Mind,” the only song in the band’s repertoire written and sung by guitarist Kenny Florence.

Before the show we asked the band if they would play the anthemic “Brother,” and drummer Nick Radford promised it would “blow [our] minds.” He didn’t lie. The song translated amazingly into a live setting. I felt chills as the Grizzly-Bear-esque ambience of the opening segued into the song’s commanding conclusion, and longed to dance like a wild beast despite this oh-so-mild crowd. Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull joined the band onstage, a fitting contribution considering MO covered “Brother” on the bands’ split 7” (have a listen here.) Baker’s onstage enthusiasm brought even more life to one of the best songs of 2006, and his bandmates proved they were no slackers in the talent department.

As we speak the band is journeying back home to North Carolina, where they’ll rest and record Be He Me’s follow up. Here’s hoping that when they tour for that album, Kansas can give them the turnout they deserve.

Stay tuned for our pre-show interview with the band.

Annuals play “Fair” at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kansas:

Keep Reading...

Live Review:
of Montreal

..................Liberty Hall - 11/20/07 - Lawrence, Kansas

Review by SonicRyan.....Photos by Femme Fatale.....Mind-Blowing Show by Of Montreal

"Dude, is there a reason why your elbows are in my face?" I asked the oaf that stood slightly behind me in between songs. Minutes earlier, the asshole "fan" was purposely jumping around on people's toes and jumping into unsuspecting concertgoers as if trying to incite a mosh pit (At an of Montreal show? Really? Douche.). He then proceeded to clap with his arms raised, elbows on my cheeks, preparing to hit me with a cheap shot elbow when the next song began. I maneuvered my head out of the way, only to find him re-positioning his arm, elbow again conveniently placed against my face.

"What, I can't hear you, bro," he replied.

Frustrated that I was not only dealing with an asshole, but an asshole that was hard of hearing, I raised my voice. "I just asked you IF THERE WAS A REASON WHY YOUR ELBOWS WERE IN MY FACE!"

"What, I can't hear you, bro," he replied again. I would say he was playing dumb, but I suspect that any person who looks to mosh with teenage girls and skinny indie rockers at an of Montreal show already lacks intelligence. I braced myself for the upcoming onslaught, the inevitable mosh-pit this idiot was itching to start. It never came.

That was how my experience at last Sunday's of Montreal show started. Luckily for me, things got better quickly. The drunk douchebag left soon after. Maybe his friends calmed him down, or told him to take a hike. Maybe he realized on his own that he needed to cool off. Maybe he went for more beer, and wound up realizing he'd have more fun listening to Van Halen in his '85 Chevy. Who cares? Without him, the entire left side of the floor could finally enjoy themselves.

Of Montreal concerts are always evolving. In the Spring of '04, of Montreal played the Jackpot before it had a stage, to a crowd of about 25. There were costume changes, sword fights with feathers, and other random moments of well planned insanity, but mostly the charming guitar pop took center stage. These days, however, you cannot hear about of Montreal without first and foremost hearing about their stage antics. This post would probably be no different, except there really weren't any antics to speak of. Sure, Kevin changed outfits once, and some guys - one wearing a tiger mask, the other carrying a tiger painting - would occasionally roam the stage, but that's about it. The stage set-up, however, is more elaborate than ever, with the members positioned on various platforms that wrap around the stage. This allows for little interaction among the band, perhaps the only negative thing I can say about their performance, but as a viewer it made it much easier to focus on the (gasp!) music.

Sunday's set was one of the more interesting ones I've witnessed on the Hissing Fauna tour. Seemingly obvious choices were left out ("Faberge Falls for Shuggie," "Disconnect the Dots"), while an old favorite returned ("The Repudiated Immortals"). At least one new song was played, as well as two Prince covers which bookended the main set. The opening cover of "I Would Die 4 U," may not have been the best choice to open the set if they were expecting a dance party, but it did succeed in getting the older portion of the audience to sing along. "Purple Rain," however, was astounding. If of Montreal and 80's era Prince only seem like perfect bedfellows on a kitschy level, then this cover went above and beyond to prove that of Montreal can stand toe to toe with the big boys. The guitar solo especially was to die 4.

The rest of the set was more or less a showcase for Hissing Fauna and Sunlandic Twins, as generous amounts of both albums were featured on this night. Luckily for the band, the sound problems that plagued them at the Granada show (and the Pitchfork Music Festival, though every band had sound problems at the festival) were amended. Finally, I could actually hear Kevin's guitar during "Suffer for Fashion," when before it was all vocals, synthesizer, and bass.

Sunday's show was the best I have heard of Montreal sound in years, the last time being when they played a show at the Bottleneck towards the end of the Sunlandic tour, which was also before they invested as much time and money into their stage show. Coincidence? I'm not sure. But then again, I always wind up having fun at of Montreal concerts.

Check out Of Montreal playing "Oslo in the Summertime" and "Gronlandic Edit" live in Lawrence. (FemmeFatale says: You try holding the camera steady while "all the party people are dancing for the indie star.")

Keep Reading...

Little Blurbs:
Kevin Barnes - God of Commercials, Man Parts

Our Of Montreal review is forthcoming, we promise. (Just as soon as this 600-mb video uploads...) In the meantime, some band buzz to spike your senses.

Erroneous Escape Into Advertising

Even after all that flak they've received over that Outback commercial, Of Montreal has returned in a T-Mobile ad. This one not only features the band's music, but the band starring as themselves.

Two YouTubers exemplified my sentiments on the matter: "At least it doesn't rape their music like those outback commercials." And, "I love of montreal too much to hate them for this." I'll add one more thought to the mix. If making these commercials allows the band to put on a show like the one I saw Sunday night, then I can't complain too much. Hey, if Academy-Award winning actress Catherine Zeta Jones could sell her soul to T-Mobile, they must pay the big bucks, right?

Has the band "sold out"? Watch the commercial and decide for yourself:

Kev's Got More than Soul Power

I've talked with Mr. Barnes after two Of Montreal shows now, and both times our conversation has taken a turn toward the scandalous. Sunday night at Lawrence's Replay Lounge, after a brief discussion about his cerulean eyeshadow, I told Kevin (more or less) the following: "You have a great penis. I've seen it online, and it's amazing. A lot of people must tell you that."

"Not really," he said, smiling, maybe even blushing (or was that just blush?). I admit I was surprised by his response. Had Barnes turned bashful? The man who bore all at that Las Vegas show, which by now is as infamous as that Outback commercial?

Does Kevin have anything to be shy about? Check out his man parts and decide for yourself.

Keep Reading...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Good News, Bad News from Deerhunter

One of our favorite bands of the year has had a busy week.

The Bad News: Bradford Cox announced on the band's blog that they were taking a "hiatus" from touring. This is definitely bad news if you have yet to see these guys perform. Incredible. Thankfully, as P4k notes, this "appears to be more of a Patrick Wolf hiatus than a Sleater-Kinney hiatus." Sigh. Why did you have to go and bring up S-K just when the wounds were starting to heal?

The Good News: You may not be able to catch the guys live anytime soon, but you can visit Daytrotter and hear new material from their forthcoming LP, rumored to be titled Microcastles. The session consists of new tracks "Dr. Glass," "Activa," and "Calvary Scars," as well as a gauzy, dialed down version of Crytograms' "Heatherwood." Listen to the session here, and feel all tingly inside.

Keep Reading...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Live Pics:
Robbers on High Street

Jackpot Saloon - Lawrence, Kansas - 11/16/07

Robbers on High Street hail from Poughkeepsie, New York, which like the beloved college town Lawrence, Kansas, is a noted "tree city" (and was the inspiration for their debut album -- you guessed it -- Tree City.) It's fitting that the guys should swing through our humble town on the last jaunt of their tour. Check out our pre-show interview with the band here.

Below, watch Robbers rockin a pretty sweet cover of the Kink's "Dead End Street" at the Jackpot Saloon. Robbers on High Street visit "Dead End Street": I like the ring of that.

Keep Reading...

Live Review:
Saturday Looks Good to Me

November 16, 2007

The Record Bar

Kansas City, MO

As you may already know, I've been digging the latest SLGtM album, Fill Up the Room, quite a bit as of late. Because of my enthusiasm for the album, I was very excited to see the band this past Friday, so excited that I skipped the Robbers on High Street show in Lawrence (though I did help Nicole interview them, which you can read below), and drove like a maniac back to Kansas City, thinking that if I hurried I would only miss a couple of songs. Amazingly, I made it in time, a few minutes early in fact, but it mattered little in the end. The show wound up being quite a disappointment, leaving me to wonder why I had decided to leave Lawrence in the first place.

The biggest problem with the SLGtM show was the electricity. Fill Up the Room is a wonderful pop/rock record, but in concert the band focused exclusively on the rock, leaving the pop part lost in the thick, sloppy distortion. Surprisingly, not a single acoustic guitar was used. The band is currently touring as a four-piece, so the lack of an acoustic was probably out of necessity, but the drastic change from dusty, afternoon pop/rock to noisy, Pavement meets Dinosaur Jr rock was a bit too jarring for these ears of mine. Some of the bands louder songs sounded decent, "When I Lose My Eyes" definitely stood out as the best sounding of the night, but the gentler "Make a Plan" was nearly incomprehensible with Fred Thomas' overly distorted guitar loops canceling each other out. Sensing that they were fighting a losing battle with an already lethargic crowd (I was one of two people standing out of about 25), Thomas called the show to an end a song early, closing with perhaps their catchiest number, "(Even if You Die on the) Ocean", a song that might have awakened the crowd some had it not been saved for last. But alas, the battle was already lost. The show ended, I drove home listening to Fill Up the Room, their versions sounding even better having just heard them butchered on stage.

Keep Reading...

Robbers on High Street

SonicRyan and I are sitting at La Parilla with Robbers on High Street. I'm beginning to feel like the protagonist of Almost Famous, that dopey kid whose attempts at interviewing fictional rockers Stillwater are forever rebuffed. Midway through dinner I'd already asked the band if they would like to "try my pancake" (you can see it on my plate there!), followed by spoonfeeding sessions and generally pleased receptions (though no one took my suggestion to order the rice bowl).

It wasn't that they were avoiding an interview. It had never been the right time. A few Maker's Marks and Stellas later and the stories were flowing, albeit off the record: Morgan stealing his girlfriend's skinny jeans, Ben stuffing Steve in his locker in 8th grade (it sounds cliché, but there are genuine hard feelings here), proclamations that Robbers were, in fact, "the gayest non-gay band EVER." (At one point later in the evening, Steve was laying his head on Ben's shoulder, and drummer Mikey was playing with Steve's hair. If only I'd been quicker on the draw with the old Panasonic.) As dinner came to a close, Steve asked Ryan and I, "Do you really still need an interview?"

Of course, we all know the canned stuff is important for, you know, posterity. So we set those guys down in the dark basement of the Jackpot Saloon and demanded our interview. What we should have asked them: How's the tour going? Who are your influences? What's it like enduring those constant comparisons to Spoon/the Strokes? What we asked them: What's your favorite pie?

Who came up with the album cover for Grand Animals?

Ben: My girlfriend's pretty crafty. We were going to latchhook a rug that said "Robbers on High Street," but she'd still be making it. So we had this idea to make this really gaudy and ornate photo, so she needle pointed our portraits.

Do you still have them?

Ben: Yeah, they're in my closet.

Does it creep you out having your faces on a pillow like that?

Ben: Well, that's why they're in my closet. I couldn't look at them after a while.

You guys are on James Iha's label Scratchie Records. Are you Smashing Pumpkins fans?

Steve: I actually don't like the Smashing Pumpkins at all.
Ben: I can take them or leave them.
Morgan: I like Gish.
Steve: I just can't take Billy Corgan.

Have you talked to James Iha about Zeitgeist?

Ben: He's definitely salty I'm sure. I don't think he gives a shit.

Since you're from Poughkeepsie, we were wondering if you were fans of the Devendra Banhart song of the same name.

Ben: I think I listened to it on ITunes. It doesn't have anything to do with Poughkeepsie. There is an Evan Dando song about Poughkeepsie, too.

You're nearing the end of your current tour. What are your plans for the break?

Steve: I'm going to have a baby. This is the first interview that I've said that in.

A Range Life exclusive! Do you have a name picked out?

Steve: Benjamina. I had a dream the other night that the baby was born and when I went to look at it, it was a little Ben. No, we're thinking Stella or Sophie.

Stella like the beer? (He'd been drinking Stella Artois earlier.)

Steve: That's how she was conceived.

(Editor's note: During the interview, Blonde Redhead's 23 plays upstairs. Steve reveals that Morgan played French horn on the track "SW." We asked Morgan how he got hooked up with the band.)

Morgan: We shared a practice space, and I just kinda bumped into them. I was just carrying a French horn at the time, and they're like, "You play that?" And I was like, "Yeah, a little bit." So they called me up and said they had some ideas for horns.

With Thanksgiving coming up, we have to ask. What's your favorite pie?

Ben: Strawberry rhubarb.
Steve: It's a toss-up between kiwi lime and boysenberry.
Morgan: "Pies of Passion"... Just listen to Michelangelo.

Stay tuned for live pics/video from the Robbers' Lawrence show.

Keep Reading...

And the Winner of the Annuals Contest Is...

Ryan Walsh, who just like us, can't wait to hear the line "You crazy old bitch" live in concert.

That's right, Ryan: you and a guest have won a fabulous trip to see the Annuals play esteemed Lawrence venue The Bottleneck. You'll see the sights on Massachusetts Street! Feel the Kansas wind tousle your hair! Ride the pony merry-go-round outside the Antique Mall! Scrawl your name in a bathroom stall!

Thank you, all who entered. Props to weirdest entry courtesy of Dayna Lee, who wanted to attend the show because, "I just think you are hot and want to see you up close." We are hot, Dayna, and we'll see you at the show.

Keep Reading...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Win Tickets to the Annuals + Tour-Only 7"

Hey gang, we do have more recent posts below, I just wanted to bump this up so everyone could see it. --SonicRyan 11/15/07

Does the epic "Brother" give you chills? Are you dying to hear the Annuals and co-headliners Manchester Orchestra live? How about on your very own 7"? Well, dear readers, you are in luck. Range Life is giving away two tickets to the 11/20 Lawrence show along with a tour-only 7 " (courtesy of Sneak Attack Media).

Contest Rules:

Tell us in 100 words or fewer why you fell in love with the Annuals. We'll pick the winner based on creativity, passion, and above all, grammar. (Just kidding - though you are dealing with an English teacher here.) Email your response here by midnight Saturday, Nov. 17. We'll announce the winner Monday, Nov. 19. Oh, and, we reserve the right to publish the winning entry on our site.

The 7" EP was recorded with tourmates Manchester Orchestra. A sampling:

Also, check out this phenomenal track from the digital-only Frelen Mas EP (a collection of Be He Me b-sides):

Happy writing, and we'll see you all at Tuesday's show!

Keep Reading...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Videos of Yesteryear are a Grand Affair!

Please join me in remembering the good ol' days. These days are captured by 1985's splendid blend of animation and live action motion picture. Sure, I hadn't been born yet, but why does that matter? A-Ha is band that can appeal to many, even the unborn. When I was in my mother's womb in India I could hear the faint tune Take On Me as it floated through the amniotic fluid and into my little ears. It's a true story folks. Ladies and Gentlemen I present you with technology at its best! ENJOY.

*I must add that this entry was inspired by last night's Family Guy episode.

A-Ha "Take On Me"

Keep Reading...

I Just Lost My Breath:
My Bloody Valentine Announce Concerts!

So the shows are in Europe, nowhere near middle America, but still, this is pretty exciting. Maybe those annual rumors of My Bloody Valentine playing Coachella will come true this coming year. Perhaps a North American tour will follow. Maybe Pitchfork and All Tomorrow's Parties can snag them for their music festival to play Loveless in its entirety.

What, I can dream, right?

[mp3] My Bloody Valentine - "I Can See It (But I Can't Feel It)"
From the Isn't Anything LP

Keep Reading...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Live Review:
Do Make Say Think

November 9, 2007

The Waiting Room

Omaha, NE

Another autumn night, another Do Make Say Think concert for SonicRyan, right? Before I begin, please allow me to advise any of you dear readers that might plan on road tripping to Omaha for a show at the Waiting Room in the near future that you call for directions (the interweb really fucked me this time) and that you have plenty of coolant to prevent your engine from overheating when you're lost. You'll thank me later.

Unlike my previous Do Make Say Think concert experience, I was a little more prepared this time around. I have to admit, walking into the Record Bar completely stoned and with only the faintest recollections of listening to & Yet & Yet while playing Scrabble and doing homework the previous fall was actually more fun, as I felt like I was discovering DMST for the first time. However, actually knowing the material a little bit better this time around allowed me to focus on the set more clearly, pick out individual parts, and unwind after a stressful trek across the Midwest.

Do Make Say Think's set did not stray too much from the one they played at the Record Bar. If anything, I think they played a more songs during the encore in KC, but I could be mistaken. Obviously, new cuts from You, You're a History in Rust were featured, but the set included a healthy dose of Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn, and even a couple from the aforementioned & Yet & Yet. But when guitarist/keyboardist/most talkative Thinker Justin Small asserted before the show that the audience was about to witness some "Canadian Space-Rock", he forgot to emphasize the "Rock" portion of his statement, as Do Make Say Think, at least on this tour, are proving to themselves to be a full fledged rock behemoth.

The set started gently enough, with the excellent "A Tender History in Rust" included, but the band hit their stride early in the show with "Executioner Blues", and from that point on they pummeled each and every person in the (sadly small) Waiting Room audience with intense guitars, streaming fuzz bass, soaring violin, crashing cymbals, and impeccably timed brass. One thing is for certain, Do Make Say Think's songs are carried to new heights when played live, which makes it incredibly easy to get caught up in the excitement. Songs like "The Universe!", with its "KC Accidental"-esque precision drumming and soaring lead guitar, can easily take a person from simple fist pumping to jumping like a lunatic in a matter of seconds. As the show progressed, those in the audience, obviously as amazed as I was back in October, began to vocalize their approval. "You're like a robot!" a very excited fellow shouted at bassist/guitarist/mustache-bearer Charles Spearin midway through "Reitschule". "You guys are awesome," said another young man later. "Can I give you money?" The band politely declined the gentleman's money, but did take some free shots - of Jameson no less (a wink to fellow Broken Social Scene concert goers - Halloween show - here). This loosened up the already amiable septet even more, turning the fuzzed out "In Mind" into a sonic frenzy.

When the final notes of "Auberge Le Mouton Noir", the evening's final song, were played, I was hit with a sense of satisfaction. Unlike the previous performance where I instantly craved more, this felt right, final. A proper conclusion to an evening filled with crazy circumstances, tense moments, highs, lows, and ice cream. Don't get me wrong, I'm still in love with Do Make Say Think, and I'd travel even farther if it meant catching them again. This particular chapter may be over, but when the time comes I can turn the page and start another.

[mp3] Do Make Say Think - "Frederecia"
From the album Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn.

[Video] Do Make Say Think - A Tender History in Rust (live in a field)

Keep Reading...

The ITunes Bump

I listen to a lot of music. Unfortunately I don't always have time to give every album the attention it deserves, especially when I'm sucked in by a recent obsession (see: In Rainbows). Today I'm giving props to albums I've discovered or rediscovered lately, thanks to a little phenomenon I'll call the I-Tunes bump. Sometimes, when an album ends and a new one begins, something magical happens.

1. Camera Obscura - Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi (2002) - Bumped via Califone's Roots & Crowns

Although later albums see Camera Obscura moving into a 60s pop mold, their debut was produced by Stuart Murdoch and is pure BS. (Make that Belle & Sebastian -- when abbreviations go wrong...) Check out final track "Anti-Western," which wooed this listener during a live performance at the Record Bar last year. A phenomenal oldie from one of our favorite artists of 2006.

2. Cat Power - The Greatest (2006) - Bumped via Caribou's Andorra

I was a fan of You Are Free and Moon Pix, but for some reason never fell for The Greatest (partially, I admit, because I absolutely despised the album art, and for the longest time thought it was a Greatest Hits album. Don't kill me, Chan fans). Maybe it's just this late-autumn mood I'm in, but the album's rich vocals and bluesy/folky turn have won me over.

3. Iron & Wine - Woman King EP (2004) - Bumped via I&W's Shepherd's Dog

Here's one that gets better every time I hear it, and proves an oh-so-nice follow-up to Sam Beam's recent masterpiece. In just six tracks Beam explores the range of his sound, from sweet ballads like "Jezebel" to Southern staples like "Freedom Hangs Like Heaven" to rockers like "Evening on the Ground," one of my favorite Iron & Wine songs ever.

4. Modest Mouse - Building Nothing Out of Something (1999) - Bumped via Menomena's I Am the Fun Blame Monster

This summer I fawned over Menomena's impressive debut, and in the process stumbled upon this collection of Modest Mouse B-sides. Perhaps it was this discovery that made getting into We Were Dead... even harder for this MM fan. Here was an entire album of B-sides that, in my opinion, easily outshines the band's last two releases.

5. The Beta Band - The Three EPs (1997) - Bumped via Besnard Lakes' Are the Dark Horse

Here's an old favorite that's been getting some extra attention lately. The Three EPs is the quintessential "chill" album. "Dry the Rain" sets the tone with layers of acoustic guitars, distant drums, and trumpets swelling toward one of the most satisfying climaxes you'll ever hear in a stoner song. If you're not convinced, listen to "Dog's Got a Bone" or "Inner Meet Me" and bow down to the late great Beta Band.

Keep Reading...