Concerts Archive

Robin Williams in Vegas!Robin Williams in Vegas!


Photo by Gene Chilling

Robin Wiliams is playing Las Vegas this upcoming Saturday and I'll actually be in town for the International Music Festival Conference promoting SCHED*. I'm going to see if I can go, he's been one of my all-time fav comedians.

You can listen to some of his comedy for free on one of my other sites, The Laugh Button.

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Doing Retro References RightDoing Retro References Right

Last night I caught the Brooklyn stop of the Evangelicals/Holiday Shores tour, which continues for five more days. Rarely have I seen two acts so perfectly suited to perform together: Both reference 1960s pop and garage rock while putting their different spins on it--and without sounding like simple regurgitation, the way a lot of "retro" bands do no matter what era they're copying.

The first band I saw at Union Hall was Tallahassee, Florida's Holiday Shores. When you can say that a group's synth sounds evoke the classic Moog so perfectly, there isn't much more praise to offer. Also, these guys do vocal harmonies well enough play a Byrds cover. But there's also a deliberate rawness--"reverb-soaked vocals" and "warbling Rhodes," as their Twosyllable Records profile describes it--that renewed my appreciation for the original garage bands that came out of the '60s, which embraced rough-hewn edginess over slick Brill Building-written pop hits. The fight against pre-fab (and now Auto-Toned) chart-toppers continues, and I'm glad Holiday Shores is on the right side.

Headliners the Evangelicals hail from Norman, Oklahoma, and so there's a midwestern sweetness to their show that I can appreciate. Maybe not sweetness, exactly, but more like they eschew irony and ennui in favor of simultaneously rocking the house while provoking thought. I could hear the Animals and the Doors in their songs almost as clearly as if I'd gone back in time. But inexplicably, the rhythm section will start cranking a disco beat. Or all four band members will wail loudly--yet still prettily--kind of like The Frames. Lead singer Josh Jones' voice teeters between tenor and alto, sounding at times like David Byrne or Robert Smith, offering another unexpected layer in the Evangelicals' music.

Boston, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, and Bloomington still have a chance to catch the show--which was so good that although I went just to hang out with a friend, I ended up compelled to write this review.

Inspiring Fan InsanityInspiring Fan Insanity

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I never knew that a band--and their fans--could be at once bad-ass and adorable.

But that was the case with Suicide Ali, a Japanese "visual kei" band who made their U.S. debut last weekend at Pacific Media Expo. (And also, to a lesser extent, with L.A. J-rock band VAEIDOS, one of Ali's opening acts).

I've been to plenty hardcore/metal shows, and the sight of hundreds headbanging in unison is common. But after the PMX concert, I'm thinking my new favorite venue is going to be anime/manga/comic book conventions. There's an electricity in the air from fans giving off the vibe that no matter what, the bands onstage can do no wrong. Thus musicians are able to take risks and end up giving a performance that they might have been too timid to do otherwise. Even first-slot act Vamp Star found the audience instantly receptive to their energetic electronica-pop.

Take Suicide Ali, whose music can best be described as a mix of American metal and European goth--but Japanified in that certain je ne sais quois that has to be seen and heard to be understood. (Hint: It may be the uniquely Japanese sense of theatrics complete with insane makeup and costumes, or the lovely melodies juxtaposed over scary instruments.) They'd never played here before--and in their home country are more underground darlings than mainstream idols. But thanks to the love of Asian pop culture fans, and the hardcore Ali fans who flew in special for the convention, the visual kei cuties kicked ass. The first word I wrote in my reviewer's notebook? "Wow!"

Ian MacKaye Fans' Red Letter DayIan MacKaye Fans' Red Letter Day

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Emo kids, fall to your knees and heed the wisdom of the legendary Ian MacKaye.

Before I go into MacKaye's Q&A speech on Sunday in Hollywood (he's been touring the West Coast the last several days), recall this: The musician/singer/songwriter/Dischord Records founder--of Fugazi and Minor Threat fame-- helped sow the seeds of the punk and hardcore scenes that flourish even now. And from which, in turn, sprung the "emotional hardcore" that begat today's emo.

MacKaye, a lifelong Washington, D.C. resident, talked about both music (he laments that his early band Teen Idles' demo was ruined by a disdainful producer, resulting in it sounding very different from the single that followed) and social activism (he said he welcomed the "Riot Grrl" movement, which is largely credited to the D.C. area, as it helped break down gender barriers in punk and beyond). Indeed, when asked whether music or activism was more important, MacKaye replied, "For me, music is activism."

I'm not writing this post just to school snot-nosed youths and the grown-ups who cater to them. (To be sure, the last line in this post shows MacKaye's not nearly as curmudgeonly as I apparently am.) Mostly, I'm doing it for the peeps--of all ages--who found their lives profoundly affected by him or his bands. It was clear who these fans were when, as pictured above, a lot of them lined up to have MacKaye sign mementos, or just to thank him personally.

The DodosThe Dodos

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Guest post by Cory Pinter of Energyface

I confess, I am no music writer, but I'm making an exception for The Dodos, formerly know as Dodo Bird. I asked songwriter Meric Long after his most recent show (Jan 11th @ 12 Galaxies in San Francisco) “Why the name change?” He told me it's just what everyone started calling them on their tour across the country. "Hey, you guys are The Dodos!" Sounds good to me.

Searching for local acts to see live, a friend pointed me to this interview and we checked out a couple of their MySpace tracks. We were hooked. We found out they were playing in Sacramento at a venue called The Great Hall. We trekked out there and were surprised to find a small house party. When we walked in, Dodo Bird was in full force.

It was great to hear two guys (Meric Long & Logan Kroeber) deliver a more dynamic show in someone’s living room than most 5-piece bands can pull off on a stage. We bought a CD from Meric after the show. It’s called Beware of the Maniacs, and it quickly rose to the top of my personal music rotation.

After seeing them again recently in San Francisco I took more mental notes. Logan's drums are powerful. Half the time he’s standing up over his kit like he's chopping wood at high speeds. He doesn't overwhelm the sound and his beat blends nicely with Meric's driving guitar rhythms and amazing finger-picking. As for vocals, Meric offers up that perfect blend of soft & loud. He's got a second mic hooked up for an echo-yell; the cherry on top of some great songs. There’s also a trombone and a loop station involved. It gets blurry after that.

Repeat encores sated a crowd that never wanted the set to end. If you're a musician, you will walk away impressed with their skills and energy. If you like heartfelt songwriting, you’ll enjoy Meric’s potent blend of creativity and sincerity. If you like dancing, there’s room for you too. The Dodos are getting ready for another jaunt across America, so there’s a chance you’ll be able to check them out soon.

Quick interview & tour dates after the jump...

Music: RIYL:Plus/Minus, Bishop Allen

The Internet: Bringing Musicians TogetherThe Internet: Bringing Musicians Together

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So I checked out the RELOAD event at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco last week. You may recall from a prior post that this show--a concert streamed real-time over the Internet on both Second Life and the venue's site--was borne of a podcasters' meeting, of all places. The acts made for a most diverse show. Refreshing, since San Fran (readers, correct me if I'm wrong) seems to be awfully segregated by genre and/or friends. That's too bad--the best shows are when you have, say, a punk band followed by an acoustic piano act followed by an indie rock group followed by some weird purveyor of electronica. And everyone makes friends.

The RELOAD show included couple of DJs, one soloist, and two bands who couldn't have been more different unless one of them had aggressive guitars (the latter of which I'm still trying to find amongst local musicians around here, BTW).

As I was busy interviewing people and missed much of the DJs' sets, I'll focus on the evening's two ensembles.

The headliners of the evening was Halou, whose members hail from both San Fran and Santa Cruz. With that pedigree, I thought these guys would be too hippie to bear, but instead they were a live electronic act that rocked more than they, er, rolled (!). There was kind of an alt-grrl quality to Halou, fronted by a singer who succeeded in what I suspect Bjork tries to be--with vocals that are pretty, compelling, and only appropriately disburbing. "Albatross," the lead track on the group's brand-new five-song iTunes-exclusive EP, was both uplifting and sobering--evoking the creature of the title, a strong-flying bird that nevertheless is a metaphor for a burden. Impressively, all Halou's members were multi-instrumentalists, as adept at switching weapons as they were at mixing hi-tech with analog goodness. The "thump-thump" of some songs came from a bonafide upright bass, not beat machine. The music ranged from dreamy electronica to a hybrid of "grunge" with guitars that reminded me of the Pumpkins, but whose deliberate sense of recalcitrance kept it classy, not crazed.

On the other hand, Black Fiction (photo above) took their hippie heritage to a whole new level. Now, I've gone full-circle in my musical tastes, and used to love anything that smacked of California in 1967, but through the years I've gotten almost Eric Cartman-like in my disdain for Dead wannabes and drum circles. When these San Franciscans first hit the stage, I groaned inwardly: You never saw so many percussionists who weren't part of some awful circle. But these guys come off as both ethereal and hard-hitting, and though they sounded nothing like Cake, I can envision those two complementing each other in some future show. I probably can only take these guys in moderate doses, but at least that night they saved the best tune for last--an upbeat song that reminded me of the Jonathan Richman, but dreamier.

And I gotta give props to Zoe, the Northern Californian cellist who played just before Halou's set and joined that band onstage. WIth her adept use at software to make herself sound like an army of one, she'd kick Yo-Yo Ma's ass anytime.

Does this review make you sorry you missed the show? No worries--it'll be available in podcast form. Check out www.halou.com or www.dnalounge.com.

Stream Of (Music) ConsciousnessStream Of (Music) Consciousness

What happens when a bunch of tech geeks and a bunch of music fanatics get together? RELOAD, that's what.

RELOAD, happening Thursday, Nov. 30 at DNA Lounge in San Francisco, is a concert that folks can enjoy live--in person or via streaming over the Internet. It's a way to showcase "the new digital model for live music"-- reaching fans no matter where they may live.

It all started, says Corey Denis of the digital music distribution company IODA, when attendees at the city's regular podcasters' mashup got to talking about music. Next thing she knew, she was thrown in charge of an event that features a DJ performance on Second Life and real-time streaming of bands like San Francisco's Black Fiction (not to be confused with the harder-hitting Manchester group) and Santa Cruz's Halou (the first band to have their own station on Second Life). Members of The New Pornographers (who make me think they'd appeal to more squeamish fans of Tampa Bay's Genitorturers) will also be there.

"The bands have varied interests linked to podcasting," Corey says is why these certain acts ended up on the bill.

Hey, in this age of digital music, don't we all?

Check out http://www.dnalounge.com/cam/ to see the show if you don't live in San Francisco, or head out to the DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., if you do.

...And You Will Know Us By The Self-Destruction...And You Will Know Us By The Self-Destruction

...And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead

St. Petersburg, FL - ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead have a reputation for destroying their equipment by the end of each performance. It's gotten them banned from most venues in Austin. They're also notorious liars, propagating their own mythology. But their stage show at Jannus Landing on Saturday night seemed unrehearsed.

After The Blood Brothers' incendiary set, half the crowd cleared. Roadies with mullets set up Trail of Dead's equipment and Jason Reece approached the mic, joking that his bandmates were off doing crack. They found their way to the stage and blasted through "It Was There That I Saw You," the opening track off 2002's career-defining Source Tags & Codes.

Then I noticed Kevin Allen's empty eyes and slow hands. He struggled to strum his guitar. He wobbled in place before stumbling into the drum kit, making his way across the stage and falling flat on his face. This was no act. Obviously useless, he was helped backstage and Conrad Keely couldn't help asking Jason, tongue-in-cheek, "You weren't kidding about that crack?"

The four remaining members carried on without their lead guitarist. Jason and Conrad took turns on drums, lead vocals and guitar, as they always do. But something was clearly missing. At the end of the sloppy set, Kevin tried to reclaim his spot. Too late. Conrad lost his composure and smashed his guitar. Nothing new there. But then he shouted, "We're done!" and stormed offstage after pushing Kevin, who collapsed with ease and took his amp down with him.

As sensational as it all was, I still wish I went to the Orlando show the day before. Or maybe I'd rather go back to 2002. In the past four years, Trail of Dead have released two subpar albums overflowing with grandoise ideas but never capturing the delicate danger of their early work. It must be frustrating to be So Divided between success and defeat. Their unpredictable antics have come to be expected. But sometimes the apocalyptic spectacle upstages the actual songs. I wouldn't be surprised if the band's end is near.

CLL-PHN-LCKN @ The MoMACLL-PHN-LCKN @ The MoMA

New York City - On November 7th, 2006 a group of scenesters, art-kids, and yuppies gathered at The Museum of Modern Art for a special event from LVHRD (a vowel-fearing organization powered by Happy Corp that puts on random, avant garde events around the city). I showed up partly because I was intrigued by the whole "CLL-PHN-LCKN" aspect and mostly because Les Savy Fav were not-so-secretly performing (the organizers played it up as if this wasn't even the main attraction).

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The sold-out event (an open bar for an $11 ticket in NYC seems like it would go pretty fast) began at 8 p.m. First I had to stand in line and pick up my packet (a numbered plastic bag for your phone and a matching numbered wrist band) and then promptly hand over my phone to the kind folks in contamination suits who assured me that I would feel healthier after relieving myself of Severe Micro-Cellulotamination.

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Now that I was free from my connected-to-the-world device, I did the open-bar line carousel a few times -- sipping my apple cider & Dewar's and smiling at the thought of a concert taking place in an art museum. After wandering around, chatting it up and a possibly Mareen sighting (Man I love her photos) Les Savy Fav rolled onto the "stage" (more like an opening with less artwork and room for instruments) as masked bandits.

Podbop Interviews AnnualsPodbop Interviews Annuals

CMJ Marathon 2006 Podbop Festival Coverage

Taylor sat down with all six members of Annuals after their Gainesville, FL performance last week. They talked about blogs, discovering new music, CMJ and more. Listen to highlights from the interview in an audio slideshow with photos from the concert. Then download the entire interview to hear what else they had to say.


Download the full interview (5.5 MB, 8 min 13 sec)

Upcoming Performances

  • Nov 3: New York, NY @ Other Music (Acoustic), 12 p.m.
  • Nov 3: New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom, 9 p.m.
  • Nov 4 : Brooklyn, NY @ The Annex (Brooklyn VeganDay Party), 1:30 p.m.
  • Nov 6: New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom, 8 p.m.
  • Nov 10: Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle +
  • Nov 15: Cambridge, MA @ TT the Bears +
  • Nov 18: Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brendas +
  • Dec 2: Tuscon, AZ @ Rialto Theatre -
  • Dec 3: Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad -
  • Dec 4: Flagstaff, AZ @ Orpheum Theatre -
  • Dec 5: Tempe, AZ @ The Clubhouse -
  • Dec 7: Santa Barbara, CA @ SoHo -

+ w/Evangelicals
- w/Calexico

Music: RIYL:Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, Broken Social Scene

Xiu Xiu, Zoo Zoo, Schwee SchweeXiu Xiu, Zoo Zoo, Schwee Schwee

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Gainesville, FL - Xiu Xiu bring the noise, the beats, and the lyrics that stun you. This was the third time I had seen them (once in Austin at an old church, once in Chicago at Pitchfork). They are definitely the band that you want to be in an intimate setting with. Otherwise, you would miss out on the chills Jamie sends when he shivers the lyrics to Boy Soprano out or not appreciate all the different instrumentation bandmate Caralee creates with bike horns and toys.

I could see how people could call Xiu Xiu's music pretentious. It can sometimes be difficult music to listen to. Maybe too much noise for some. I must admit Xiu Xiu are one of those bands that I never listen to at home, but jump up and run to go see them live. You know those kinda bands don't you? Their CDs aren't the soundtrack to my life. They just put on a damn good live show. I'm not as fond of their newest album The Air Force as their older ones, so I didn't quite enjoy this show (pretty much all newer stuff) as much as the Austin show two years ago (plus it was hotttt). It was still good enough to get me coming back again (and looking forward to it).

Kaela caught up with Jamie after the show for a quick Q&A:

Podbop: I read in the Alligator that you used to be a pre-school teacher. What inspired you to join a band and go on tour?
Jamie Stewart: I had always been playing in bands while being a pre-school teacher and I just finally got fortunate enough to make enough money at it so that I didn't need a day job anymore. They had been happening concurrently but luckily for us this kind of took over.

PB: I've heard a lot of different pronunciations of your band name. It's Xiu Xiu (shoo-shoo) correct?
JS: That's how we say it but a million different people who speak a million different dialects of Chinese have told us that we're saying it wrong, and then they say something else but it's always somethign different.

PB: What's the funniest pronunciation?
JS: Zoo-zoo; Schwee-Schwee I think is our fav. That's actually what we privately call it.

PB: What are some of your favorite albums of 2006?
JS: Congs For Brums by Ches Smith, Evangelista by Carla Bouzlich, Marble Mouth by This Song Is A Mess But So Am I, Drift by Yellow Swans, the new looper record, and the new Morrisey record.

PB: What are some of your favorite live shows you have seen?
JS: Deerhoof, Hoodford Cows, Bahaus are probably the best bands I've ever seen live.

PB: What do you think makes a good show?
JS: Confetti.

Photos After The Jump!

Music: RIYL:Blood Bros meets Bright Eyes, Deerhoof, The Curtains, Black Dice Rating:
Three stars/5 Stars

Don't You Want (My) Fascination?Don't You Want (My) Fascination?

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San Francisco, CA - I was absolutely stoked to re-live the days when Max Headroom bewildered TV audiences, even hours after Human League's show at Red Devil Lounge on Monday.

Admittedly I'd figured the the band--whose "Don't You Want Me" and "Fascination" I dug back in my late elementary school years--would put on an amusing performance that would brush dangerously close to desperate, unintentional parody. Maybe some audience members would dust off those Robot moves, and perhaps the group would draw enough attendees to pay for a few cocktails and one night's rental of some beat-up van.

Instead, I was awed at how these synth pioneers--brunette backup singer Joanne Catherall celebrated her 44th birthday that evening--remained not just well-preserved, but amazing performers who didn't have to try too hard. From the opening notes of "Sound Of The Crowd" (a friend's fave) and on through the two tunes I best remembered from childhood, Human League stayed on-key, in-harmony, and always on point.

Wearing sunglasses with automaton-like countenances while performing the night's first song was the only throwback moment to 1980s New Wave. Otherwise, the group--led by frontman Philip Oakey--was a modern, slick, and yes, emoting act that could teach the emo-bores of today. Oakey, whose tradmark asymetric 'do has been replaced with a bald pate, looked more virile than in his heydays. Towheaded backup chanteuse Susanne Sulley was sultrier than today's blonde pop "singers." Sure, the sight of two Apple laptops was a distracting jolt back into modern times, but only because I feared the combustible-battery epidemic might explode right there onstage.

My only complaint? That I don't recall any songs penned this decade (I'm pretty sure the British bunch played at least a couple). There's a fine line between a quality oldies act and a longtime group that innovates while preserving its glory days. With a bit more effort, Human League could fall into the latter category.

Athens Popfest 2006: Day ThreeAthens Popfest 2006: Day Three

Athens, GA - Kaela, Brett and I set out Thursday morning due north toward Popfest. It would be our first time in Athens, and we were excited. We arrived six hours and three stops later, with three bellies full of "tradition served daily" from Cracker Barrel. We were just in time to catch some going ons at Little Kings.

Little Kings was the home of all of Popfest's day shows, mostly consisting of lesser known bands. It was a really great choice since the windows let the daylight pour in on stage and it was a more intimate setting than its late night counterpart, the 40 Watt Club.

The Ocelots took the stage at 5 p.m. Their rock was my first taste of Popfest and got the blood flowing. Seattle's Patience Please kept it going 'til dinner.

We had an hour to kill before the shows started up at 40 Watt, so we headed to the locally recommended Five Star Day for some home-style soul food. Butter chicken, biscuits, hoppin' johns (a rice/bean/salsa mixture) and a cup of cream of mushroom soup made me so full and so happy. Highly recommended (and only $10 for a meal!).

Rolling ourselves back, we caught the start of The Smittens' set at 8:30 p.m. They were all smiles, and their enthusiastic twee-pop was a nice way to start off the second half of the day. When their guitarist broke a string, they sang an acapella instead of standing around awkwardly like most bands. In a cutesy Popfest moment, guitarist Colin "Charming Smitten" Clary offered free hugs if you couldn't afford their merch. Be sure to check out the interview we did with them.

Cars Can Be Blue Next came Cars Can Be Blue, an Athens duo that started off as a joke. Their music is twee-pop meets Adam Sandler (in a hilariously great way). Their music piques your interest. Then it makes you laugh and generally have a good time. Their MySpace page asks "Who said music can't be fun?" and that describes them to a t. We were treated to a dirty twee-pop song (MP3 available on their Podbop profile), a cover of some Ol' Dirty Bastard song, and a seductive bellow when Nate revealed his true colors. Check out the interview we did with them as well.

I pretty much tuned out both M Coast and The Gazeteers. Neither were bad in the hurt-your-ears, nails-on-chalkboard kind of way, but they just didn't stand out as anything special.

During the down time we walked down the street to the local indie coffee shop. Hot Corner Coffee was our hub during Popfest (one block from both venues) and provided the necessary free wi-fi, caffeinated libations and comestibles to keep us going. Their jasmine and garden iced teas were also delicious.

The Love Letter Band The Love Letter Band went on at 11:30 p.m. Apparently they are usually a full band, but we were treated to a stripped-down acoustic set by singer-songwriter Chris Adolf with his friend providing some backups. A hint of Bob Dylan's twang and Bright Eyes' angst could be heard in his outstanding folk-rock performance. Reminds me of something you'd find on Saddle Creek. This guy could really go big.

Oh-OK headed on stage next. Apparently they were a twee-pop band from the '80s. I don't think their music was anything special, but you could tell that the two frontwomen were psyched to be back on stage after all that time. A good show can result from awesome music OR completely enthused musicians. Their constant excitement and gratitude made me smile.

A great show happens when you get both excellent music AND enthusiasm from the performer. The Mountain Goats delivered in every account imaginable. I confess the whole time I watched him perform, I was standing there thinking to myself, this is the kind of show that has made the 40 Watt Club legendary; this is the kind of show I'll still be talking about in five years.

We returned to Mark's house around 2 a.m. and fell to our beds in rock-induced exhaustion.

Ghostland Observatory @ The CrocodileGhostland Observatory @ The Crocodile

Ghostland Observatory

Seattle, WA - "Ho-lee shit!"

That's about the best way I can sum up Austin, TX band Ghostland Observatory last night. I had heard they put on a great show, and had fairly high expectations, but damn. If you're not familiar with Ghostland Observatory I think the best way I can describe them is as noisy/soul/dance/rock. Kind of like Death From Above 1979 but with a lot less metal and a bit more soul. Oh and some crazy-ass dance moves.

They had the sold out crowd (kind of crazy for a Monday night at The Croc) going crazy through their whole set. Screaming, dancing and generally just carrying on like mad. It made for a great atmosphere and an awesome backdrop to a really fun and unique sound.

They're loud as hell, full of energy and have an absolute knack for getting the crowd all hyphee. You'd probably have to see live to really appreciate them (if for no other reason but to see frontman Aaron Behrens' crazy dance moves), but for the time being, give 'em a listen.

Tour dates after the jump.

Music: RIYL:Death From Above 1979, Daft Punk, LCD Sound System, Nitzer Ebb, At The Drive-In Rating:
Four stars/5 Stars

Say Hi To Your Mom @ Common GroundsSay Hi To Your Mom @ Common Grounds

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Gainesville, FL - Last night at Common Grounds I finally saw Say Hi To Your Mom. I've been a fan of Eric Elbogen's music for over two years, but it was my first time seeing them live.

Eric has been at it for over four years by himself, but he added a drummer and keyboardist to the lineup for his latest record, Impeccable Blahs. His mellow, relatively monotone voice seems like it would make for unappealing pop songs. But he pulls it off with catchy riffs and amusing lyrics (about killing cats, vampires, and robot-love) to make unique, memorable tunes. I caught him after the show for a few hard-hitting questions.

Any cool, interesting tour stories?

Eric: It's sort of been your run-of-the-mill rock tour. We blew out a tire in Texas, which is the first time this has happened to this band. It was relatively painless.

I didn't actually experience it, but Loni the merch girl and the Chris the drummer, after our show in Los Angeles, got accosted by a really gross prostitute who proceeded to take off all of her clothes and rub her breasts against the car window. We actually got a video tape of that.

What inspires you as a musician?

Eric: I like when people work hard, which is one of the reasons I ended up moving to New York City and one of the reasons I love working and making records there. Because that city, I think, more so than any other place I've been is full of good artists who just work their butt off all day long. It forces you to do the same instead of sit around procrastinating all day. Girls inspire me too.

Of course! What are your favorite, life-changing live shows?

Eric: I saw Built to Spill on the Keep It Like A Secret Tour at the Roxy in Los Angeles and that was an absolutely amazing show. Radiohead at Madison Square Garden. I ended up getting really great seats to that. I saw Broken Social Scene at the Mercury Lounge, which is like a 200-capacity room, and it was just as they were getting the big buzz. But there was just something about the first time I saw them in that setting that was pretty mind blowing.

How many times does a question have to be asked to get on your F.A.Q.?

[Laughter] It isn't really a matter of the number of times asked, it's more of how irritating it is. And to be completely honest, I'd say 75 percent of those have never been asked. They are just me goofing around. It's funny though. That part of the website really is just one big joke, but I find that people are afraid of me because of it. They will come up to me at shows and come up with all the reasons from the FAQ why they aren't supposed to be talking to me. But I hope that most of my friends can attest to the fact that I'm just your normal, nice dude.

Music: RIYL:Pinback Rating:
Four stars/5 Stars

Seattle's Capitol Hill Block PartySeattle's Capitol Hill Block Party

The Crowd

It was spine chilling. Leslie Hardy's haunting keystokes wafting through the warm summer evening air, followed shortly by Spencer Moody's howling, "Pecked by the seagulls, hanging from the gallows! Twisting in the breeze, dripping something on the streets!" It was chaos. So many people, piled up on just about anything that'd give them a glimpse of the stage. I think they were expecting a crowd, but nothing like this. I couldn't see all that well, but it was worth it none-the-less.

Oh yeah, The Murder City Devils were back. If only for a moment. Damn, I missed them. I didn't really realize it until it was almost too late.

They were the main course, but the appetizers at this year's Capitol Hill Block Party would have been just as satisfying on their own.

Building the State @ Side BarBuilding the State @ Side Bar

Gainesville, FL - When the rain cleared Saturday night, Taylor, Kaela and I walked over to the Side Bar to catch Building the State. This was my third time seeing them perform. As expected, they unveiled a handful of new songs.

Building the State is a progressive indie-rock band with cascading guitar lines that twinkle and burst. The new material sounds darker and even more captivating than their last album, The Flood is Feeling. It was my first time seeing them with a new drummer and a keyboard on stage. Both are welcomed additions.

While it wasn't their best performance, I left impressed with the direction they're taking. Tomorrow the band heads to Athens, Ga., for two weeks to record a new full-length with Mike Albanese of Cinemechanica. I can't wait to hear the results.

Tour dates after the jump.

Music: RIYL:Appleseed Cast, American Football, Explosions in the Sky Rating:
Three stars/5 Stars

The Long Winters @ Doug FirThe Long Winters @ Doug Fir

The Long Winters

I was lucky enough to catch The Long Winters last Friday at Doug Fir in Portland, OR. Simply an amazing show in a great venue. For those who don't know, The Long Winters are known for power-pop with a focus on terrific emotional songwriting (as are many of their North West contemporaries) and that's exactly what we got.

Music: RIYL:Nada Surf, Band of Horses, Sufjan Stevens, Death Cab For Cutie Rating:
Four stars/5 Stars

The Sword @ El CorazónThe Sword @ El Corazón

Austin band The Sword is one of my favorite bands of the last few years. Having seen them at SXSW in 2005 I was stunned. Here is a band that does classic metal right. This is true to metal's roots and some of the best rhythm-driven hard rock around right now.

I saw 'em again just a few weeks ago here in Seattle at El Corazón and they proved to me, once again, that they're one of the best straight up rock/metal shows you'll come by these days. I wish I had some photos as they were fairly entertaining, if a bit mellower than the last time I'd seen them. If you like Witch, Wolfmother, Priestess or the like, chances are you'll love The Sword.

Tour Dates

  • July 24th : Subterranean - Chicago, IL w/ Saviours & Those Peabodys
  • July 25th : Creepy Crawl - St. Louis, MO w/ Saviours & Those Peabodys
  • July 26th : Jukes - Grand Rapids, MI w/ Saviours & Those Peabodys
  • July 27th : Phoenix Hill Tavern - Lousiville, KY w/ Those Peabodys
  • July 28th : Outland Ballroom - Springfield, MO w/ Those Peabodys
  • July 29th : The Conservatory - Oklahoma City, OK w/ Those Peabodys
  • July 30th : Rubber Gloves - Denton, TX w/ Those Peabodys
Music: RIYL:Black Sabbath, Wolfmother, Mastodon, Fu Manchu, Led Zeppelin Rating:
Four stars/5 Stars

Dirty On PurposeDirty On Purpose

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One of my favorite NYC (technically Brooklyn) bands is Dirty On Purpose. They recently played at Village Voice's annual Siren Music Festival out in Coney Island. Now they're on an adventurous summer tour. Check out their tour blog for proof. And if you'll be near any of these locations, do yourself a favor and check them out. They will not disappoint.

For a taste of their music, check out their MySpace page. Or better yet, pick up their album Hallelujah Sirens.

7/19: Southgate House Newport, KY
7/20: Firehouse North Manchester, IN
7/21: Beat Kitchen Chicago, IL
7/21: Continental Afterparty - Chicago, IL
7/22: 7th Street Entry Minneapolis, MN
7/23: The Aquarium Fargo, ND (Dempsey's Upstairs)
7/26: KEXP.org Seattle, WA (12pm PT/3pm EST)
7/26: Paradox Seattle, WA
7/27: Town Lounge Portland, OR
7/28: Bottom of the Hill San Francisco, CA
7/29: Spaceland Los Angeles, CA
7/30: Indie 103.1 Los Angeles, CA (Acoustic Set: 1pm PT/4pm EST)
7/31: Kilby Court Salt Lake City, UT
8/1: Hi-Dive Denver, CO
8/2: Launch Pad Albuquerque, NM
8/3: Modified Phoenix, AR
8/5: San Diego Street Scene San Diego, CA
8/6: Solar Culture Gallery Tucson, AZ
8/8: Stubbs (Indoors) Austin, TX
8/9: Hailey's Denton, TX
8/11: Local 506 Chapel Hill, NC
8/13: Satellite Ballroom Charlottesville, VA
8/14: Tasty World Athens, GA
8/16: Drunken Unicorn Atlanta, GA
8/17: Common Grounds Gainesville, FL
8/18: Jackrabbits St. Augustine, FL
8/19: The Social Orlando, FL
8/21: Milestone Charlotte, NC
8/22: Black Cat Washington, DC
9/1: South Street Seaport New York, NY

Wolfmother's New Tour DatesWolfmother's New Tour Dates

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These indie-rock favorites will be spinning 'round the globe over the next few months. They just announced US tour dates for September. I had the luck to see them with Liz at last year's CMJ Marathon and they blew the place up. Totally Black Sabbath meets White Stripes. Their live show proves that the rock music that hit its prime in the '70s is still alive and kicking in 2006.

Stream their whole album over at Modular People or grab the fun dancy MSTRKRFT remix below.

Tour dates after the jump...

Music: RIYL:Black Sabbath, Led Zepplin, White Stripes

Elf PowerElf Power

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I first heard of Elf Power while reading 33 1/3's In the Aeroplane Over The Sea (an in-depth look at Neutral Milk Hotel's classic album). They came from the same Athens, Georgia clique and even run the label Orange Twin (which put out a NMH EP and Jeff Mangum's Field Recordings).

Their sound is in the same genre as NMH as well. A kind of indie-folk-pop with bits of distortion and that general Athens underground "feel" with their supernatural imagery. It's the kind of music that is made while sitting around with friends having fun, not the kind created by producers and executive to bring the buck. This should be put on while driving to the beach, having a picnic and living up your summer days.

Give their 8-song streaming concert from May 2006 over at Fabchannel.com a listen. The sound is excellent and track 8 is my favorite.


Listening elf power music and sitting against fireplaces is a great source of amusement. It’s a hobby of so many people to listen to songs in the warm environment of the bedroom with electric fireplace on. Music fans usually do arrange fireplace mantels around their living rooms.
Music: RIYL:Neutral Milk Hotel Rating:
Four stars/5 Stars

The Starlight Mints @ Common GroundsThe Starlight Mints @ Common Grounds

In the "Fun live but I probably won't listen to them at home" category come The Starlight Mints. An indie-pop band with a great female singer and a light show to keep you hypnotized.

June 3
Starlight Mints @ CG

Tour Dates

  • July 20: Austin, TX (w/ Midlake & Ester Drang)
  • July 21: Denton, TX (w/ Colourmusic)
  • July 22: Lawrence, KS (w/ Ghosty)
  • July 23: Chicago, IL (Whicker Park Festival)
  • July 25: Covington, KY (w/ Ghosty)

Ignore, I'm just claming our Technorati Profile

Music: RIYL:Mates of State, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Rating:
Three stars/5 Stars

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