Wednesday, September 27, 2006

New Hold Steady and Polyphonic Spree

As we eagerly count down to Tuesday's release of the Hold Steady's much-awaited follow up to Separation Sunday, Boys and Girls in America , I found another track from the upcoming album.

This one's a bit of a departure. Yes, those are strings, and yes, it sorta sounds like Ben Folds. It's a bit of a departure, but I had been expecting some more complex arrangements to compliment their usual bar band stuff. Even if you don't like it initially, stick with it until the end.

The Hold Steady - "First Night"

Also recently discovered that Tim Delaughter's current band, Polyphonic Spree, have covered his old band, Tripping Daisy, on their just released Wait EP. The song is "Sonic Bloom", a true all time favorite. It comes from the Daisy's Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb, which is a true underrated power-pop classic if there ever was one. It also fits his new group well, as there's lots of room for backup vocals and Penny Lane horn flourishes.

Polyphonic Spree - "Sonic Bloom"

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thin Lizzy Lives!

Pitchfork -- ever vigilant and omnipresent -- beat (most of) the rest of us to another band, Brooklyn's Thin Lizzy devotees Stylofone. They just reviewed a new cut from them called "Helen Keller". I'll confirm all the rumors and tell you that they really do sound a lot like Thin Lizzy. Beyond that, there isn't a lot more to share. Where the Hold Steady copped some Lizzy licks and maybe a lead part or two, Stylofone take almost everyting. But I still like it. A lot.

Stylofone MySpace page (three songs streaming)

Also, the Riff Market blog has a hilarious little thing on how Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2" has been banned from NFL stadia. Check it out here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rehashed Treasures: Jeff Tweedy DVD

Just caught the trailer for the new Jeff Tweedy DVD, Sunken Treasure: Live in the Pacific Northwest. View it yourself here. Did you like I Am Trying to Break Your Heart? Did you buy it on DVD? How many times have you seen the outtakes? If you answered "not enough" to this last question, the Sunken Treasure filmmakers are thankful indeed. Yes, the trailer for this latest Wilco-related release bears a strong resemblance to IATTBYH. In addition to the new film's title track (played solo, also in the Pacific Northwest, on IATTBYH), it appears this one will include other similarities like scenes driving in cars, Tweedy's wry sense of humor on the streets, and lots of fascination with geometrically-oriented shots of our nation's cities in gloomy weather.

But seriously, I will no doubt see this movie, probably enjoy it a lot, and maybe even buy it. Even though I'm still pretty angry about their DC show selling out in 4 minutes. To hell with you folks (I didn't post that, by the way) on Craigslist who scarfed up all the tickets only to scalp them and make some easy cash. I'm boycotting.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

TV on the Radio on mp3 on various blogs...

Stopped by a local record store the other day and sampled some of TV on the Radio's latest release, Return to Cookie Mountain. Always one of those bands I'd enjoy hearing on a college radio station or something but never something I'd pursue, the track "Wolf Like Me" has me reconsidering. Yes, it's rife with the same hyper-seriousness I just got done lamenting last week, but there's something more in there. The production is fussy and busy, almost hiding the melody behind a layer of static. But it's there, and while the guitars sound a little too familiar, it's more bombastic than anything Wolf Parade, Interpol, or the Dears have put out.

TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me

Whole Wide World: Coup in Thailand

Just got word that tanks have appeared in Bangkok, a possible military coup. Right now there ain't a lot happening on the wires, but the BBC has this. Drudge Report also links to something on Breitbart here.

I'll save you the time of actually following those links if you like: China's official news agency has reported movements of the Thai 3rd and 5th Army areas' four battalions. Though supposedly simply some kind of "personnel rotation", the BBC is saying this morning that tanks have appeared in Bangkok. I'll try to keep updating, but stay tuned to Drudge and BBC for details.

*It's been a while since I've done a segment of Whole Wide World, so here you go:

Whole Wide World...

PAPUA NEW GUINEA - This country of 5.9 million people is the world's most linguistically diverse, with over 700 native tongues. Only 1% of the land is currently fit for cash crops. There's lots of rain forest, which means lots of lumber, which means lots of environmentalist groups crying foul, lots of dangerous-run off and erosion. Gold and copper resources haven't been accessed. The country still maintains very close ties with Australia, which governed the island state until 1975. The capital is Port Moresby and the Gross Nat'l Income per capita is 660 bucks.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Band of Horses: DCist Review

The folks at the DCist were kind enough to publish a review I did of the Band of Horses / Chan VanGaalen show at the Black Cat on Wednesday night. Very enjoyable, sold out show. You can check out my review here.

You might notice some readers have made comments regarding my slight towards New Buffalo. Well, she really did suck awfully bad in concert, but a couple of her songs aren't terrible. And yes, I was wrong, she is Australian, not Canadian, as I suggested. That's my apology.

Check out the rest of the DCist (updated very regularly) at

Monday, September 11, 2006

Pass the Hatchet: YLT back on top?

I haven't heard all of the new Yo La Tengo album, I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Kick Your Ass, but Pitchfork's calling it a return to form, even after their supposedly lackluster performances on a summer tour. Predecessor Summer Sun wasn't great, more like Dad Rock for the Pure Moods crowd. While it had its moments -- "Little Eyes" and their cover of Big Star's "Take Care" chief among them -- it turned out to be the gloomiest thing YLT have ever put out.

Now they're back, and you'd do well to give a listen to the album's sprawling opening track:

Yo La Tengo - "Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind".

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Firing of Robert Christgau

The Village Voice has fired ancien rock writer Bob Christgau after 37 years of service. Those of you vaguely familiar with him know that his writing is first pretentious, second funny, and third short. All of these end up being good things if you're in the mood. Ever notice how, in music magazines like Q or Uncut, when they print a full page, 700 word, review of an album from the Coldplay/U2 complex and give it 4 stars, you find it extremely wordy and meandering? Do you also skip to the 100 word capsules and read fifty of them? If so, Bob Christgau is probably why.

To give my readers and better idea of what I'm talking about and what Christgau is all about, I've decided to highlight a few reviews, taken directly from his personal website. Below you'll find links to both c/s album favorites and also simply entertaining ones he's written.

Jefferson Airplane - The Essential Jefferson Airplane

The Beatles - Capitol Albums, Vol. 1

My Bloddy Valentine - Loveless

Radiohead (entire catalog in about 300 words)

My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves

Moby Grape - Vintage: The Best of Moby Grape

The Old 97's - Entire Catalog (for whatever reason, Christgau just loves Rhett Miller and the Old 97's)

Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information

Stephen Stills - Stephen Stills 2

Anyway, you get the idea. I may add some more recommended reviews every so often, but you really just have to comb through them yourself and get a feel for what he likes and doesn't. Noise does not impress him. Songs do.