Long live rock, I need it every night

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Dead Dude

It's still Tuesday, so I'll sneak this one in.

As I just celebrated my birthday this weekend, I thought we would celebrate the birthday of Marc Bolan (T. Rex), who was born on this date (September 30th) in 1947. Sacklunch and I enjoyed a little T. Rex as we drove through Austin the other day (lots more about Austin to come).

Bolan was killed while a passenger in a car crash. Ironically, he never learned to drive due to a fear of an auto-related premature death. He was two weeks shy of his 30th birthday when he died and the circumstances around his death are worth the click.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Sliceland of Iceland...

Mugison (with Bellman Barker)
September 23, 2008

...quite niceland, indeed. It was a night of surprises, not because I expected Mugison and Bellman Barker to suck, but because they were both so good. The original intent behind Rock Club, for me, was to see a lot of shows and maybe someday be able to say something like "The Beatles? Yeah, I saw them in 1961 in the Cavern Club." Get in on the ground floor, you know? Neither of these bands will ever knock the Beatles off of their lofty perch, but I have to say that my $10 ticket was money well spent. Lately I'd been lamenting our not seeing enough local bands so I'm glad we got to see Bellman Barker, in particular.

Mugison is a two person outfit consisting of lead singer Örn Elías Guðmundsson, and some other dude. The other guy could have been Örn's brother, but everyone in Iceland looks like they're related to each other, because they pretty much are. The two of them would gibber in their childlike pidgin tongue, and then Örn would make a quip in English, and then they would launch into some stripped-down White Stripes/ De Stijl style blues-rock. They were very good and you couldn't help but be won over by their endearing nature. They'll be playing Austin City Limits this weekend so perhaps I'll check them out while I'm out there. Sack suggested that we offer up Jumbo Slice's house for Mugison to crash at, without informing him. Mugison, if you're reading this, e-mail us and I'll give you Jumbo's address. He won't mind.

Bellman Barker actually opened things up so I suppose this review is out of order. One rejected title for this one was Blame It On The Bellman Barker, which would have been an homage to the classic ape movie Blame It On the Bellboy. The title was rejected because I looked on IMDB and realized that I was actually thinking of Dunston Checks In. Blame It On Dunston? Dunston Checks In, by the way, is an award-winning documentary about a chimp who hangs out with George Costanza and later rises to become the Chief Financial Officer of Starwood Resorts, Inc.

I stated earlier that Bellman Barker won't surpass the Beatles, but they can probably overtake Wings. As I was listening to them I was trying to place the sound, and I kept coming back to what could be called "intelligent 1970s rock"--you know, sensitive guy music that's not as wimpy as yacht rock--I'm thinking Wings, Badfinger, Kansas, stuff like that. Bellman Barker have lots of cool tempo changes and soaring refrains (go to their MySpace and listen to "Two Bees" for a taste). They tend to be a little too jammy for my tastes and I think they could benefit by shortening and stripping down some of their songs a la Spoon, but you can't argue with their proficiency. These guys are the type of band where every member has been playing his instrument since elementary school, and it shows. We see so much ragged music that you get used to it, until you see someone like Bellman Barker play. Almost like a session band, really. Even the backup vocals were pretty choice.

And lest you think that being compared to Wings is a bad thing, I beg to differ. Back when Mrs Jimbromski and I lived in New York, one of my neighbors posted an anonymous note on my apartment door complaining that I had been playing my music too loud. That didn't bother me so much--it was late and I had the volume up too high--but she added that "[my] taste in music sucked" because the song I was playing at high volume was "Band On The Run." I nearly drafted a long rebuttal defending Wings--I wanted to tape it to the front door of the building--but I thought better of it. Pearls before swine.

A few quick notes on DC9 and then I'm off to Austin. We were able to sit in a booth in the corner and watch the show, which was great. This is the dinner theater atmosphere I've always pined for. The onyl drawback was that it was freezing by the windows.

Anyway, we're all off to Austin, so posting will be sporadic while we're gone, but we'll try to report back on what we see. Two big thumbs up, one for Mugison, and one for Bellman Barker.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Don't Switch the Blade On the Guy in Shades

It's Tuesday, and time for another look at what YouTube has to offer.

This week's YouTubesday is inspired by my travels to Canada, specifically Montreal. I arrived to Montreal Saturday and have been eating mounds of poutine, enjoying pints of Boréale beer, and wishing I knew some French so I could flirt better with the Québécoise. So, in keeping with my current location, I decided to post a clip from some home-grown talent.

Arcade Fire? Too obvious. The Dears? I'm pretty sure I don't like them. Men Without Hats? Tempting... but instead, you are reminded that Montreal's own Corey Hart was once a Tiger Beat heart throb (and possibly light sensitive).

Separated at birth/David Duchovny?

Wikipedia has a fascinating write up of Corey Hart. A few highlights:
  • at 13, he sang for Tom Jones and recorded with Paul Anka in Las Vegas and, at 19, recorded demos with Billy Joel and Eric Clapton before signing to a major label at the age of 20.
  • he was offered the role of Marty McFly in the film Back to the Future, which he turned down.
  • he has four children with kooky names: daughters India, Dante & River and son Rain.

White Denim at ATX Converge

The ATX Converge show at Mohawk was the place to be on Friday night. The evening featured an eclectic lineup of some of Austin's best acts: Belaire, Black Joe Lewis, Freshmillions, and my favorite live band, White Denim. When I arrived the place was packed and there was a line down the block to get in. I was worried I'd get shut out so I quickly started formulating ways to sneak into the club. Fortunately, I got in and met up with my friend Callie (aka Show Lush) as Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears finished up their set.

Belaire took the main stage next and did what they do best: melodic synth pop. The biggest compliment I can give them is they're both catchy and unique. I was doing my dorky head bob to each song but never thought "Oh! they remind me of so and so." Usually within 5 minutes of listening to a band I can name 3 or 4 other bands that share their sound. Not with Belaire.

While Belaire put on a good show I was really just counting the minutes until White Denim went on. I assumed they'd play the main stage but towards the end of the Belaire set, a friend texted us to hustle to the indoor stage. It's a good thing because it filled up fast (Thanks Amber!).

After a quick soundcheck the lead singer, James Petralli, just looked at the other guys, shrugged his shoulders, and said, "Ready?" Then they launched into their set at 100 mph. The first 20 minutes were the most fun I've had at any show this year. Rolling Stone says "the band combines the Stooges' raw power, Hendrix's psychedelic flourishes and the White Stripes' stripped-down blues rock". Yeah, that's about right. As they play you're compelled to do a little hip shake and ass wiggle. I bounced up and down so much that my calves were killing me the next day. Here's a bit of the show. The video quality is pretty bad but you get a sense of what it's like at a White Denim show.

As you can see, this power trio plays raucous blues-rock, rattling garage rock, whatever you want to call it. Songs such as "Shake, Shake, Shake", "Darksided Computer Mouth", and "All You Really Have To Do" make for an explosive live show. My only complaint is they didn't play "Let's Talk About It". Maybe it'll make it onto the set list this weekend at Austin City Limits. Other than that, it was another fantastic show. After being blown away by them last month I was prepared for a letdown. Nothing would compare to that first show, right? Actually, this show was as good as the first. They displayed the same raw power and the smaller setting worked well. There was a mutual symbiosis going on. The band fed off the fan's energy and vice versa, like Clownfish and Sea Anemones.

White Denim and fans

Interesting tidbit: During the show I took note of the cool Minnesota Twins shirt James Petralli was wearing. I later learned the band has a lot of ties to professional baseball. Petralli had a grandfather that played for the Washington Senators, as did Josh Block, the drummer. Weird, huh? Plus, Petralli's father was a catcher in the Major Leagues for 12 years. I wonder if George Brett ever told him any funny poop stories. Bassist Steve Terebecki apparently has no relations to professional athletes, but word is he's a killer on the hand ball court.

Finally, I tried for a witty title, a funny pun, something. I came up with nothing. All I had was "White Power" but the last thing we need need is people thinking we support skinheads. If I missed an obvious title, please let me know.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Peel World

Last weekend, after a myriad of drinks at Super Zoe's house, I headed downtown to see the house band for my drunken nights in Austin: Peel. Even though I'd seen them twice recently I was up for another show. I was guided by this simple formula: Peel + Two Japanese rock bands + Beerland = guaranteed good time. You don't need to be a Calculus professor to understand that equation.

BTW, how funny is the name Beerland? It's like opening a deli and calling it Meatland. As you can imagine, it's a dive bar but it's a fun place to spend a Friday night. It was also a good setting to see the lo-fi (yet boisterous) pop songs of Peel. They played all my favorites off their album: "Moxy Blues", "In The City", and "Workers, Wake Up". They also added some songs from their EP, August Exhaust Pipes, as well as a few new tunes. The Beerland setting had them playing with abandon. The two guitarists often smashed into each other as they bounced around the stage. The bassist, who prefers hanging off to the side, was hiding behind the speakers just to avoid them.

Check out their fun loving, low budget video for "Moxy Blues". It's like an iTunes commercial on acid:

Peel is one of the best bands Austin has to offer. I've seen them three times and each show has been better than the last. They often pull the rug from under the headliners and leave people (or least me) wanting more. Tonight was no exception.

The first Japanese band to play was The Captains. They were exactly what I expected: lots of 60's inspired rock with coordinated hand gestures and synchronized bows at the end of each song. They didn't speak much English so they just kept repeating "Thank you!" and "So happy to see you!" The best part of The Captains was their "get ups" (as they say here in Texas). Before the show they were all dressed in Boy Scout uniforms and during the setup they looked like waiters with ruffled tuxedo shirts. For their set, they went for a Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club thing. However it looked like a mix of Austin Powers and the lion tamer for Ringling Brothers. The Captains put on a good show but were no match for what came next.

Tsu Shu Ma Mi Re are an all girl band that apparently has some association to a cartoon called The Powerpuff Girls. I never quite caught the connection. Like The Captains, their English was limited, so I couldn't understand their onstage banter. No matter. They let the music do the talking for them. It was ironic to hear their high pitch, cutesy voices as they play thrashing punk rock with a Japanese twist. They knew how to put on a memorable show using a lot of classic rock moves: climbing the speakers, getting the crowd clapping along to songs, jumping into the crowd. Here's a taste of what their live show is like:

All in all, a great night out in Austin. Tonight should be just as good as Belaire and White Denim (my favorite new band) take the stage at Mohawk.

I felt like going out, you know, for the Faraquet....

After a few nights of staying in and watching mediocre television, I needed to get out of the house last night and decided to check out Faraquet and Statehood at the Black Cat backstage. I am glad I got there early to get my hand stamped, as the show was sold-out shortly thereafter. I didn't really see any of the 1st opener but was able to catch all of Statehood's set. They seemed to be having some technical problems for the first few songs, as it was difficult to hear Clark's vocals. The technical difficulties continued with the laptop thing and slightly disrupted the flow of the show. Clark had to talk a bit more than usual, which may (or may not) be a good thing. Once they got it all together, they sounded pretty tight and the last 3 songs (especially "Every Single Question") were quite good. The band is definitely driven by the rhythm section (Easley and Axelson), but Clark is a pretty entertaining front man when he is actually playing guitar and singing.

After a quick switchover in equipment, Faraquet took the stage to a very enthusiastic crowd. It's funny because the crowd was like 98% male and they all looked alike. Short hair, square shaped hipster glasses, all in their mid-30's. Honestly, I had only heard one Faraquet song prior to the show (from a Dischord compilation that I own) and was interested in checking out Devin Ocampo play the guitar in a live setting. The music is kind of hard to peg. It definitely has a DC/Dischord sound to it and was described by a friend as "extremely mathy". There is not much melody (well no melody to be exact) and lots of weird breaks in the timing. I guess it is not the most accessible music in the world, but you don't always need melody, right? Some of Ocampo's rhythms almost sound like sped-up jazz guitar, and he plays with this ferocious intensity that seems truly sincere. The highlight for me was "Cut Self Not" (the one song I had heard before) and the crowd seemed to dig that one as well. I ended up leaving a bit early, as I was tired and it was getting pretty late for a school night. Do I need to see Faraquet again? Probably not. Am I glad I went last night? Absolutely.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wearing White After Labor Day

David Byrne - 9/17/08 - The Lyric (Baltimore) - $38

My old man was kind enough to invite me up to his hood for a peek at former Talking Heads front man, and Baltimore "local," David Byrne. My ticket - an early birthday present. For those who are still looking for a gift for me, I'm in need of a nice knife sharpener.

The venue, Baltimore's The Lyric, is akin to DC's DAR Constitution Hall, with its many rows of seats, and balconies, and carpet. It is, after all, officially the Lyric Opera House. This proved a barrier at first, as the seated crowd remained seated for the first 3/4 of the show, getting up for "Once in a Lifetime," only to sit back down for the next several tunes. Like me, I'm guessing that there were a good number of folks who were much more familiar with Byrne's TH catalog than his solo work.

But off to the side balcony, close to the stage (and basically where we like to stand at the 9:30 Club), the audience there was on its feet throughout, and I decided to get a closer look with 1/4 of the show left to go. It was a good move as the vibe was much more of what I enjoy, people actually moving around and enjoying themselves. It was also a great vantage point, and it gave me the opportunity to snap a photo and capture some video.

Thanks to Emma Peel's post last month, I had listened to Byrne's latest collaboration with Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, via the internet. And Byrne played a good chunk of it tonight. Here's what I remember him playing from the new album (in no particular order):

My Big Nurse- I hadn't notice the "when the angel fucks the whore" lyric before tonight
Everything that happens
Strange Overtones
Life is Long - I like the "soul to soul" chorus
The River
One Fine Day
This show was exactly that - a show. It's a good day when there is actually a performance to experience. The dancers were a nice addition, and mostly because they weren't the only ones dancing. The back up singers, and Byrne himself, were all part of the choreography. It was something to see. Well done.

In addition to "Once in a Lifetime," Byrne busted out additional Talking Heads favorites. These appeared mostly in the last 1/4 of the show, and kept everyone on their feet.

The TH tunes I recall:
Cross Eyed & Painless
Life During Wartime
Take Me to the River
I was hoping he would close with Psycho Killer, but he's the boss. Byrne performs on Day 1 of ACL. It would be worth checking out again, especially without seats in the way.


Only about a week to go before the trip to Austin and this could very well be the last installment of ACL Injuries. Jumbo Slice has already purchased the Entenmann's Apple Strudel for our nourishing pre-show breakfast and I have waxed my chest hair for our sojourn to Barton Springs.

In this week's battle we are looking at the Saturday 6:30 PM time slot. It is actually a three way between Conor Oberst, Mason Jennings, and the legendary John Fogerty. I am going to rule out Oberst at the get-go, as I don't really have any desire to see teary-eyed, U of T freshmen girls singing along to "Lua" (though the vulnerability of said girls may be appealing to Potsy). And yes, I know that is a Bright Eyes song, but still.....I instead am going to focus on either Jennings or Fogerty in our final match up.

Now the embarrassing part. I just now realized that I was getting Mason Jennings confused with Shooter Jennings (son of Waylon). I would have been interested to see the country-rock of Shooter Jennings, however, not so interested in Mason Jennings. He seems to be some sort of singer/songwriter protege of Jack Johnson and plays easy-listening contemporary folk. Fuck that shit, I will be bored to tears listening to this dude. I am sure there will be a lot of upright spooning at this show and I think I would rather pay my respects to Mr. John Fogerty.

We all know Fogerty from his CCR days, and I would hope he would play a couple of tunes from his hey-day. I am thinking "Proud Mary", "Bad Moon Rising", and of course "Fortunate Son". In fact, I would be willing to bet at least $10 that he will close with "Fortunate Son" being how we are in Bush's home state and there IS a war going on as we speak. Who wants some action?

I am less enthralled by his solo material. I can't stand that song "Centerfield", but I don't mind "Old Man Down The Road" (it had that cool video from 1984,with the guitar cord, in the swamp, remember...). I hope he sticks to the Credence stuff, but I doubt he will. Maybe he will make the big mistake of showcasing a "new song" from his latest project. Play the hits man, play the hits.

ETA: I am listening to "Long Dark Night" off Fogerty's 2007 release "Revival" and it is pretty fucking good. I take that back, play the new stuff man, play the new stuff.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I like the way you work it - Shin diggity

It's Tuesday, so here again is a peek into the wonderful world of YouTube.

On this date (Sept. 16th) in 1964, the pop music show "Shindig!'' premiered on ABC-TV. According to TvParty.com, Shindig! was the first of its kind - "a prime-time rock music show that featured live (at least not lip-synced to records) performances by the top acts of the early Sixties."

In honor of its premiere 44 years ago tonight, this week's YouTube clip comes from Shindig! And to further celebrate the anniversary, the clip is the Byrd's live performance from September 16th, 1965 - one year after the show's first broadcast.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

You Don't Know Jaxx

Kix w/ Z02, at Jaxx - 9/12/08 - $27

Like our own private moon landing, Rock Club was full of excitement as we finally touched down in Springfield, VA to take in a show at the legendary Jaxx on Friday night. Nestled between an Afghan restaurant and Mattress Land, Jaxx is conveniently located in a strip mall near I-95. Unlike our trips to Baltimore and Chicago, our interest in seeing a show at Jaxx had less to do with the bands performing and more to do with checking out a new place - call it a cultural expedition.

Here's how Jaxx looks from the outside:Something's missing here...

Thanks to my discovery of IFC's new Z Rock series, we had a nice reason to venture out to Jaxx, and our reason got better thanks to the top billing of Hagerstown, MD's very own pop-metal act, KIX. The sold-out Jaxx was packed with a mix of hot-young-slutty-glam-metal-chicks and what looked to be their parents. Choosy Milfs choose KIX. Lots of haggard dudes with stringy, brittle hair, some bosomy and equally haggard ladies in white leather, and average white folks wearing KIX concert tees as well. sacklunch said he personally felt more attractive just by being there.

Throughout the night, the crowd was polite and well mannered, dispelling our initial prejudices about the venue and its patrons. No pushing, no aggression, and the most offensive act I witnessed was watching the guy next to me getting whipped in the face by the headbanging hair of the guy in front of him. Think - going through a car wash, sans car.

We skipped the first 3 bands, arriving 30 minutes before ZO2 hit the stage. As sacklunch mentions in the clip below, when you enter Jaxx you pass through a metal detector. Yet, Jimbromski and the dude behind me both set off the machine as we passed through, and no one seemed to care. The Jaxx staff have probably tired of dealing with too many dudes packing tin-foiled cucumbers in their trousers.

ZO2 were fun to see, but mostly because lead singer Paulie Z wails like the hard rock bands of the late 70s and 80s. It's been a while since I've seen anything like it, so it was a welcome change from all the beardy bands we've been seeing. Most of ZO2's songs are highly derivative. I texted myself the following list of what came to mind as I listened:
Tool - STP - Living Colour - Seinfeld theme song -that "More Than Words" song -Pearl Jam
The cover of RUSH's Tom Sawyer was awesome. On our way out, we ran into two-thirds of ZO2. They had 8 minutes til chow time, and we got a quick pic. Nice dudes. They invited us to Atlantic City for their show with Alice Cooper. ZO2 in AC with AC.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Well, looky here....

Last week I was giving Comet Ping Pong a hard time for only having a crappy, uninformative MySpace page. I assumed they'd be like the Velvet Lounge and wait four years before finishing their new site. I was wrong! They've got themselves a real live site.

The concept behind Comet Ping Pong is genius. It incorporates many of my favorite things: pizza (I'm not called Jumbo Slice for nothing), music, beer (they even have Dale's Pale Ale), and ping pong. All they need to do is hire a bunch of midgets and I'll move back to DC and call the place home.

Once upon a time, I was a killer ping pong player. I won tournaments and everything (I have the trophies to prove it). Growing up I had two huge older brothers that towered over me. One sport that nullified that advantage: ping pong. If horse racing is the sport of kings, ping pong is the sport of weaklings (which I was in high school). What happens when those weaklings grow up? That's right, they often become indie music loving hipsters. That's where Comet Ping Pong comes in.

In just a short time they've featured some good bands: Revival, The Apes, Double Dagger, Ringo Deathstarr, and on Sunday they'll have Tussle. Not too shabby. Of course, they don't have any other shows lined up after this weekend but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt this time and assume more good bands are on the way.

Feel The Burn

The Rockists post on My Morning Jacket reminded me of another much ballyhooed band we've yet to see: Kings of Leon. Well, we haven't done an official review. It's possible Potsy, Sacklunch, or Jimbromski has seen them live, but I haven't.

The only Kings of Leon album I listen to is Youth and Young Manhood but based on their new single, "Sex On Fire" their new CD, Only By The Night (out on 9/23/09) should be pretty good. Here's the very odd video for "Sex On Fire":

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Don't Know How To Love Him

Silver Jews w/Monotonix
Black Cat
September 10, 2008

Just a quick note on last night--Potsy and I went to the Silver Jews/Monotonix show at the Black Cat. The Silver Jews are much-beloved by their fans, which is generally a good sign, although both Hitler and Jimmy Buffett are also much-beloved by their fans, so that can go either way. I was handicapped from truly enjoying the Silver Jews due to my ignorance of their catalog, but they play a kind of ambling, country/western-type music. I would love to see them play at a Sizzler, where I could sit in a booth and get free refills and visit the salad bar at my leisure.

I only caught the last ten minutes of the Tel Aviv-based Monotonix, but man, did they make an impression. First, they were set up in the middle of the crowd. Not just the Eddie Argos-running-into-the-crowd-to-sing set-up, but literally, drums, bass, everyone in the center of the crowd. Second, these guys are very hairy. My first thought, which I took the time to scribble on a matchbook so I wouldn't forget it, was that the lead singer looked like he could have been an extra in Jesus Christ Superstar. Shirtless, sweaty and hairy. He was wearing shorts so small, and pulled so low, that they could more properly be called a "tube bottom." He managed to get the whole crowd to sit down on the dirt-assed floor for the last song. I bought a shirt. Here's some really grainy cellphone video:

Here's a clip of Yvonne Elliman singing "I Don't Know How to Love Him," from the 1973 film Jesus Christ Superstar:

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tell Me Wye

Since moving to Austin I've been reminiscing about the days when DC was an influential music city. The scene isn't what it used to be and now even Baltimore makes more waves on the national scene. A number of excellent bands have come out of Maryland in recent years and perhaps my favorite is Wye Oak. When I read they were opening for Shearwater I alerted the wife to clear her calender and contact the babysitter. This was one show I did not want to miss.

Leading off the night was Hospital Ships, the one man band of Jordan Geiger. He's also the trumpet and keyboard player for Shearwater and singer/songwriter for Minus Story. He's a quadruple threat. The concept for Hospital Ships is pretty basic: Jordan on electric guitar playing earnest songs. On a few numbers a friend played the glockenspiel and on another someone played the melodica, but for the most part, it was a one man show. And quite a good show at that. Jordan looks like a smaller, indie version of Justin Timberlake. His vocals reminded me of the lead singer of Page France (one of those Maryland bands I was talking about earlier).

I was struck how, using only his voice and guitar, each song had it's own color. Not that the songs were all over the map. They weren't. The differences in each song were a series of subtleties that made for something unique. Hospital Ships were a great opener. Like an amuse-bouche for the meal that was to come next (sorry, I'm forced to watch a lot of Food Network).

Wye Oak are Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack. Once known as Monarch they switched names when they signed to Merge Records. Proud of their roots they named themselves after the honorary state tree of Maryland (roots! get it? Ah, never mind). Wye Oak is not a species, it was an actual tree, 460 years old when it was destroyed during a thunderstorm. Thus concludes today's history lesson...

The Wye Oak, before it's demiseWye Oak's MySpace page declares "we don't play acoustic music" and they reinforced that on Thursday. Looking at them you might expect a serene and polite guy/girl duo. Not so. Their performance was stripped down and a bit rough (in a good way). It sounds corny but they were there to rock.

They opened with "Please Concrete", which violates one of PostRock's Rules of the Road: Do not open with the first song from your most recent album. However, Wye Oak was opening for Shearwater so they can claim the exception: "If you're an opening act, this is more acceptable. There's more of a need to put your best foot forward to win over a crowd that's not there to see you, so go with what works." Plus, it's one of my favorite songs so I didn't mind hearing it early in the set.

As the set progressed, two things really stood out for me: Andy on the drums and Jenn's voice. Andy handles the entire rhythm section playing the drums with his feet and right hand while he plays the keyboards/sampler with his left. Each limb was moving in a separate rhythm. He wasn't just tapping away, he bashed the hell out of drums. Just as powerful and impressive as Andy's juggling act was Jenn's singing voice. In fact, it may be the best asset they have. Her voice reminded me of Cat Power. She sings with conviction - like Patsy Cline - and it adds grit and realness to the songs.

Verdict: I like this band. A lot. If Children is one of my most listened to albums of this year. While their live performance was different than the album, I enjoyed it just as much. There's a bit of weirdness that I can't quite explain. At times, the band is gentle and disarming and other times they are raw and messy. Sometimes it all happens within one song. That's not an easy feat to pull off.

Do yourself a favor: buy this album

Addendum: Here are some of the rejected titles for this review. Potsy gets credit for most of these:

Wye Oak? Why Not.
Wye Oak: No Joke
Wye (not) Oak?
Who, What, Where, Wye Oak
Oak is it! (Coke reference)
Have an Oak and a Smile (same as above)

And my personal favorite:

Wye Oak We Get Drunk and Screw. This would have required too much detail on how my wife and I spent the rest of our evening.

Had they sucked I could have gone with:

Wye Choke
Charm City Fakes (a play on Charm City Cakes, a Food Network show based in Baltimore)

If you think of any others we missed, leave them in the comments section.

Shoe City -> Easterns Motors -> Capitol Hemp?

Local Ads with Good Grooves

Sacklunch just sent an email out regarding this ad, and it seemed worthy of an add-on to YouTubesday. DC has done well with advertising local businesses with musical accompaniments.

Monday, September 08, 2008

When Canadians Attack

Coldplay and Radiohead fans retaliate?

Noel Gallagher, 41, of Oasis gets shoved off stage at the Virgin Festival in Toronto this week. This after brother Liam defamed the fans of Coldplay and Radiohead last month. Coincidence?

"I think their fans are boring and ugly and they don't look like they're having a good time," said Liam, as quoted by the Guardian.

Down Goes Frazier @ 1:30

Or maybe Amy "destitute horse" Winehouse was behind the attack.

Okay guys, band meeting.

Liam Finn w/The Veils
Rock and Roll Hotel
September 6, 2008

The Veils? Yeah
Liam Finn? Present
DC Rock Club? Yes, present, thank you

Item one: show review.

Stop the presses! It's an Aussie invasion and Washington, DC unconditionally surrenders! Following in the giant footsteps of luminaries Yahoo Serious, Jocko, Paul Hogan, Steve Irwin, men from Down Under Liam Finn and The Veils put a giant shrimp on our live music barbie on September 6....

Wait, hold on.

I've just been informed that "New Zealand" is in fact a separate country from Australia and not a slave colony as I had previously thought. My bad. Let me start over.

Alert! Alert! Mayday! Kiwi rock stars take Washington DC through strategy! Not since the days of, ummm, the butt-fuck-a-sheep-while-wearing-an-Orc-costume craze of 2003 has this plucky island nation sunk their marsupial claws into our national heart!

Well, I was crazy for it. And it wasn't just me, okay?

Okay, my first impression from this show was the giant tour bus parked outside Rock and Roll Hotel. That's always an indication that you're dealing with professionals. And not only was the bus huge, and shiny, but there was also a hitch attached. Seeing that got me fairly excited. I'm always a little more psyched up when foreign bands roll into town because if you can afford to do an international tour then you must be something special. Whoa, whoa...not you, Canadians. I'm talking about real foreigners, here.

The Veils went on first and I believe I missed about two songs, which I later regretted, because they only played for about 25 minutes. Unfortunate because they sounded great--it's no secret that 2006's Nux Vomica is an excellent album, and I was looking forward to hearing a lot of those tracks live. Sacklunch saw this band last year at DC9 and said they were pretty solid. The brevity of the set did not detract from the quality of what they played: "Calliope" and "Not Yet" were standouts. I wanted to hear "Advice For Young Mothers To Be"--did they play it in the beginning of the set? Someone help me out here. Potsy later spoke to the bassist after the set and she indicated they'd have a new album coming out this fall, so there's something to look forward to. Lead singer Finn Andrews stuck around to catch the headliners--he looks like a slightly healthier Pete Doherty, although there are 92-year-old Pennsylvania coal miners with black lung who would qualify as "slightly healthier than Pete Doherty." Andrews always wears a hat which makes me think he's hiding something--baldness, swastika tatoo on skull, ringworm...could be anything. I should have "accidentally" knocked it off and gotten to the bottom of things.

Has anyone seen my alveolar ducts? I think they fell on the floor during my last coughing fit.

Headliner Liam Finn took the stage shortly after the Veils vapor trail had dissipated. It was just him and bandmate Eliza-Jane Barnes, sharing duties on multiple instruments. The man writes some very catchy songs--"Energy Spent" and "Better to Be" are gems, and "Second Chance" sounded pretty good as well. Lowlight was "Birthday" by the Beatles--I love the Beatles but that song's just annoying. Don't cover it. Finn redeemed himself when he played Neil Young's "Old Man" towards the end of the set, this time adding two mop-haired young fellows to round out the band. The extra sound worked well, and begs the question as to why Finn and his ladyfriend split time on four or five instruments. He probably can't afford a full band, because he spent all his money on the bitchin' tour bus.

"Better to Be," Liam Finn (I'll Be Lightning, 2007)

Special bonus video below: a compilation of all the Flight of the Conchords band meeting attendance-takings. Enjoy:

Friday, September 05, 2008

Examining All The Options

I'm down here in Austin so I shouldn't be telling the rest of Rock Club what shows to see but I'm going to anyway. Potsy, Jimbromski, and Sacklunch have opted to see Liam Finn with The Veils on Saturday. Nothing wrong with that. Maybe a little conservative, the safe choice if you will. The puss option others may say. Not me though, I'd never say that. Never. (cough...wussies...cough)

Let's discuss a few other shows people should consider. Tonight one of my favorite Austin bands (I have about 74) comes to DC for a show at Comet Ping-Pong (note to Comet: get a real fucking web site already). I saw Ringo Deathstarr open for Tilly and The Wall earlier this summer. Allow myself to quote....myself:

"Two bands local to Austin opened the show. First up - Ringo Deathstarr!!! Why the excessive use of exclamation points? Because these guys brought the noise rock and I loved it. Tons of distortion and heavy drums. They had the gauzy feel of The Jesus and Mary Chain combined with the loud and sloppy gutter punk of Blood on the Wall. They exuded a "we're rocking and if you don't like it you can go fuck yourself" attitude which reminded me a young Fake Accents. Needless to say I'll be keeping tabs on this band."

If that's not enough reason to go check these guys out, I can't help you. You're hopeless. Seriously, go away. You disgust me.

I also wish I was in DC to see Gist at the Black Cat on Saturday night. It's a promotional show for their new CD, Conversations, Expectations. I've seen Gist a few times. Once when they opened for Travis Morrison and again when they headlined at Iota. Let's hop in the way back machine for another quote:
"They play ferociously energetic rock. I'm not talking about spazz rock or out of control crap like some of the bands we saw in American Hardcore. No, unlike bands that rely on gimmicks and non-stop distortion, Gist can actually play their intruments and play them well. It also doesn't hurt that they can write some nice hooks."

Okay, there it is. I've said my peace. If Rock Club can't make these shows, hopefully a few readers can (report back if you do!).

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Kentucky Bourband

My Morning Jacket - DAR Constitution Hall - 9/3/08 - $?

That's right. One of us went to see My Morning Jacket Wednesday night.

We've gotten some serious criticism for not having seen this phenom band of beards. So with our credibility in doubt, I did what any of my fellow mates would do. I sat lazily at a bar and thought nothing of it until a friend got a text offering free tickets to the show at the last minute.

I arrived to DAR with the show already in progress. Here's the beginning of the second song I witnessed, "Gideon" from the album, Z.

Great seats, eh?

MMJ put on a good show. The sound was better than I expected, given that it was in DAR, not my favorite venue. Their performance was impressive, sound quality especially, and they had the largely seated crowd enthused.

Admittedly, I'm no super fan and don't know if the members of this quintet are in the witness protection program or are horribly disfigured, but they certainly don't seek out the spot light(s). Almost the entire performance was backlit, making it nearly impossible to distinguish the band members from the stuffed grizzly bears on stage - except when Jim James was running from side to side, showcasing his high energy stage presence (and massive mound of hair).

Did I fall in love with MMJ Wednesday night? You can't fall in love with anyone in DAR's Constitution Hall. I fell asleep while watching one of the military bands perform at DAR 10 years ago. These are the bands with tubas, cymbals, and lots of brass. In other words, they are loud, and still I fell asleep. The venue almost forces you to sit in its plush seating and yawn. But MMJ is loved by many, and wants to love back....

Bright Lights Big City...what year is it again?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Austin Calling

I admit it. I don't know a lot about Spiritualized. I even mixed them up with Stereolab when commenting on yesterday's post. I said I'd choose MGMT over Spiritualized at this year's Austin City Limits. Since then I've done my research and with the help of friends who know a shitload more about music than me, I've seen the error of my ways. After listening to three Spiritualized albums and reading some concert reviews, it became clear choosing MGMT would be a mistake.

Which bring me to the point of this post. I wasn't really connecting with the Spiritualized sound until it hit me: Ah, they kind of remind me of Low Line Caller. Now, your first question is probably "Who the fuck are Low Line Caller?" To which I would reply, "Who the fuck are you? That's right, my friend. Who...the fuck...are you?"

I went to see Low Line Caller here in Austin back in July. When I first listened to their songs on MySpace I almost mistook them for yet another band chasing after that Brit-pop sound. It didn't take me long to realize these guys had a lot more talent than those groups. They started as an instrumental band, laid the foundation, and then after a few years they hired a singer. They make really lush, spacey, ethereal, and exquisite music. It's not unlike Spiritualized. Just not as much trance and obvious drug influences.

Seeing Low Line Caller live at Mohawk was actually an uplifting experience. However, as their set progressed I was ready for them to turn up the energy and rock out. And that's exactly way they did. The whole set was a slow build to crescendo. It's an overused description but they really are a tight band. During the show the four musicians would often all face each other in a circle. They were all locked in and focused on every note.

On Saturday I'm going to see Low Line Caller again as they open for The Lemurs. The Lemurs, also from Austin, are celebrating the release of their new EP. Belaire, who I saw open for Tilly and The Wall, and Pink Nasty are also on the bill. Should be another good night out.


We are now only 3 weeks away from the big trip to Texas. As the phone prankster Mark Knopfler would say, "I'm getting pretty excited..."

Today's match up is during the 5:30 time slot on Saturday and it pits electro-poppers MGMT up against druggie, trance-rockers Spiritualized.

I bought MGMT's debut CD "Oracular Spectacular" used at CD Cellar right when the song "Time to Pretend" (or "Time to Prevent", if you are Jumbo Slice) starting getting popular. I liked the disc a fair amount though it never really grew on me. Like most CD's I purchase (and most bands I see), it was neither here nor there, a solid B, an 85, or if you like Pitchfork, a 6.8. They opened for Yeasayer on the fabled Black Cat backstage debacle/protest and I have heard they are not bad live. However, due to the popularity of "Time to Pretend", they catapulted from mere backstage openers, to 930 Club headliners (sold-out show, mind you) in about 6 months time. Merely a buzz band? Are they worthy of DCRC's precious time?

Spiritualized is another band that I have enjoyed on CD. Well, to be honest, the only Spiritualized disc I own is "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space", but a fine disc it is. Jimbromski has been enjoying the new one "Songs in A & E" and we dropped the ball on his suggestion to see them at the 930 Club a few months ago (which I heard was a fantastic show, BTW). I just wonder how the live performance will go over during the day in festival atmosphere. Will they still have the reverb and noise, or will it be more of an acoustic, laid-back vibe? Also, Jumbo Slice better do a good job of scoring us some drugs if we are going to fully enjoy this one.

Monday, September 01, 2008

ZO2 - the latest in Metallurgy

It's Tuesday and time to pick a clip from YouTube to ponder.

I recently decided to upgrade part of my entertainment system and I'm now a proud owner of a big flat HDtv. As a result of this purchase, and the fact that I don't actually have a subscription to HD cable, I find myself constantly clicking around looking for good (HD) content. Last week, as I was flipping through, I paused at IFC.

Not to be confused with that DC organization connected to the World Bank Group, the Independent Film Channel shows movies and tv shows "uncut." Yeah, uncut. I'm not sure how they get away with this, but I guess it's cuz it's cable. Every once in a while, there's a nice R rated nude scene, which is a bit of a treat these days for me, since I swore off internet porn on January 2. Now I'm like a 14 year old boy. I'm thinking about signing up for the Frederick's of Hollywood catalog, ya know, cuz Christmas is just around the corner.

What does this have to do with YouTubesday? Well, one of the new IFC shows that recently debuted is called "Z Rock." It's a pseudo reality show that features the real-life band "ZO2," and mixes in actors to help create zany adventures for this struggling rock-trio. The one episode I've seen so far was fairly amusing (and was uncut as advertised), and I paused long enough to watch the whole show.

As it turns out, ZO2, aka the Z brothers, are on some sort of tour and are coming to Jaxx in less than 2 weeks. DCRC has been looking for a good excuse to drive 40 mins to Springfield, VA and see what kinda venue Jaxx really is, so this was as good an excuse as any.

It's probably gonna suck.