Thursday, January 26, 2006
So it's been a couple weeks since I've done one of these non-specific posts. Strap in, this could take awhile...
Shocking news, at least for me: Th' Faith Healers are back after a decade long absence, and they're playing (the relatively tiny) PA's Lounge in Somerville. I never got a chance to see them live, so I'm extremely psyched for this... I'll be crossing my fingers for songs from 'Lido' from now until they take the stage. It's definitely a 'get there early' sort of show, because it will no doubt sell out the tiny room. Much appreciation goes out to The Critique of Pure Reason for setting this one up.
For anyone who missed out as The American Analog Set posted all the song demos from their 'Set Free' disc throughout the past few months, well, you're in a whole lot of luck. Now that they've shared them all, one by one, they've posted a 60mb .zip file of all 11 song in one shot. My religious weekly visits feel a bit pointless in retrospect, but hey, I'm happy for the rest of ya. (thanks to Mike in the comments for the heads up.)
This season's schedule of concerts at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston is up, and as usual, there are some great shows. In addition to the Valentine's Day Undertow Orchestra appearance (that's Dave Bazan, Vic Chesnutt, Mark Eitzel, & Will Johnson), there are dates for Isobel Campbell with Damon & Naomi in mid-March, The Books with Jos� Gonz�lez and Death Vessel a couple weeks later, and one I'll most certainly be at, a night with Rachel's in May. Bound to be just beautiful.
Long as I'm talking about great nights at the MFA, I should mention that Too Much Rock has at last posted a review, along with some excellent photos and a video clip, from last November's wonderful Clogs & Bell Orchestre show. For those unaware, Clogs share bands members with The National, and Bell Orchestra has a couple of Arcade Fire folks. The video is Bell Orchestre's entire seven-minute performance of 'Noviembre'. Very nice, indeed.
Tickets for Ted Leo's March 4th Boston show at the Paradise are still available, so if you're going, don't wait. It's a Saturday night show, so it'll likely sell out faster than normal. If you can, avoid the ticketbastard 'convenience' charges by stopping by the 'Dise during their box office hours between noon and 6pm.
You Ain't No Picasso has some acoustic Ted cover song action for ya.
If you missed it, a few days ago the Almanac was kindly featured in a Muzzle of Bee's 'Get To Know Your Blogger' post. You'll find far more than you really need to know about yours truly, but I sure do appreciate being asked. Aside from my learning of the very cool Crooked Fingers encounter that opens the interview, the best outcome of being profiled is discovering some new music blogs, thanks to comments left both there and here on the 'Nac. Some newly found faves: rbally, An Aquarium Drunkard, Clever Titles Are So Last Summer, Exitfare, Ear Farm, and Relapse. Gold, I tell you.
Imagine my heartfelt surprise when I came home to find a copy of the debut disc from Whysall Lane waiting for me in my pile o' mail the other day. After many, many listens, I can enthusiastically recommend this sucker to anyone who hungers for a Versus fix. Actually, anyone who's looking for smartly-crafted and energetic guitar-pop should grab it from Midheaven Mailorder, or at least give the preview clips a listen over there. Even better, grab mp3s of three tracks over at the under-construction Whysall Lane site, or stream 'em at their MySpace page.
Yes, Ex-Versus frontguy Richard Baluyut is back, and it's so great to hear him alongside Mikel Delgado (Wussum Pow / Little Deaths), who plays bass and has a Fontaine-ish voice that is just different enough to be her own. Ex-Jawbreaker drummer Adam Pfahler 'brings the thunder' (as he says), and is releasing the disc on his own label, Blackball Records, on February 6th. Of all the post-Versus offshoots, Whysall Lane is the one that seems to carry their sonic spirit onwards. Hope to hear news of a tour sometime soon.
And speaking of Versus, For The Records had a fantastic Versus-centric post earlier this week, so go.
Y'know what makes me happy? Seeing a new picture of Throwing Muses drummer David Narcizo sitting behind his kit in a studio. Especially when he's there with main Muse Kristin Hersh. Happy ears ahead.
So when I found out that we (being the band Charlene, which I play the drums in) were playing a show at TTs in March with a band called Serena Maneesh, I made a mental note to check them out. Before I did, though, I got an enthusiastic email raving about them, from someone who didn't even realize that I'd already be at the show. Needless to say, I gave the Norwegian band a listen right away, and Britt was right... they're excellent. One of those rare bands whose recordings give you an instant need to see them live. Britt seems to think the show will sell out, so if you're at all interested, don't delay. Stop by TTs for much cheaper tickets.
Brooklyn Vegan has been writing about Serena Maneesh for a couple months (mp3 links there), and has words and images from last week's NYC show. The March 8th show at TT the Bears in Cambridge will be their first Boston area appearance.
Also recommended to me via email was NYC's The Picture, who opened up for Editors at the Mercury Lounge last week, and who play Boston's Bill's Bar this Saturday night, the 28th. Their debut disc, 'Connect', came out last month, and the four songs on their MySpace page are pretty good. After Boston, The Picture head overseas next week for a few London shows, and return for a couple in NYC before heading to SxSW.
Patrick Monaghan from Chicago-based Carrot Top Records writes about Best Buy's recurring practice of selling independent cds below cost, and the ill-effect it may have on indie labels and distributors. Merge Records main man Mac McCaughan responds in the Merge forum, and a hearty debate ensues. A tricky issue, all around.
Got Ester Drang's new disc, 'Rocinate', in the mail the other day, and to be quite honest, I'm just not feeling it. Maybe I need a few more listens, but right now my love for their 'Infinite Keys' is nowhere near being matched. That said, I'll still be seeing them when they play TTs on March 5th, because I am totally into the new Metal Hearts album, 'Socialize', which will be out on February 21st. To stream a couple songs, head to their MySpace page, or grab an mp3 of the album's title track at their Suicide Squeeze page.
'Nac reader Phil was lucky enough to see one of Mogwai's many shows at the London ICA a couple weeks back, and sent me a video he recorded of them performing Like Herod. It's a pretty large file, so I'll only be sharing it up here for a few days.
For those who missed the Brooklyn Vegan post (and there really shouldn't be many of you who did), Stephen Malkmus played solo for a mere 200 people a couple weeks ago in NYC, and treated them to a bunch of Pavement stuff, including 'Shoot The Singer', 'Box Elder', 'Frontwards', and 'Gold Soundz'. Great selection of songs, wish I coulda been there. Anyone seen a recording of this flyin' around the 'net yet?
Speaking of Mr. Malkmus, here's some good news for those wondering who will be filling his shoes on the upcoming Silver Jews tour. We'll be treated to the guitar stylings of Peyton Pinkerton (New Radiant Storm King / Pernice Brothers), who starts rehearsing with the Joos after he's finished his studio work on the next currently-in-progress Pernice Bros. record. Joining Pinkerton and SJ main-man D.C. Berman in the road show are Berman's wife Cassie on on bass and vocals, Willie Tyler (Lambchop, Bobby Bare Sr. et al) on guitar, Tony Crow (Lambchop, Bobby Bare Sr. et al) on piano and keys, and Brian Kotzur (Nashville legend, also of the aforementioned bands but from countless others as well) on drums and vocals. Can't wait for that.
Fittingly, NRSK will be opening up for the Joos when they hit the Middle East Downstairs on Sunday, March 19th, and regular 'Nac readers will know how psyched I am about that fact. Very, very. Tickets are, surprisingly, still available.
Some mp3s you would do well to grab, if you haven't yet: the mother lode of Elliott Smith b-sides & demos, Explosions in the Sky's very first performance, and a high quality Arcade Fire live show that was broadcast on KCMP in Minneapolis in December. The Torture Garden also pulled together links to a ton of Arcade Fire mp3s, including covers and live tracks. (thanks to aka:Raff for the info)
Some great news came in the latest Teenbeat Records newsletter: In addition to revealing a February 28th release of Flin Flon's third disc, 'Dixie' (Flin Flon is Mark from Unrest, Matt from True Love Always, and kick-ass bass player Nattles), it announced a new batch of reissues called "Teenbeat Originals". It's billed as "a new series of remastered and reissued old releases and limited and live performances".
The first three releases all come from back in 1985, and they are: The Extremism compilation, which was their very first release, and features Unrest, Jungle George & the Plague (Andrew from Eggs), Fred and Ginger, Section 25, Thirsty Boys (Ian Zack with Tim from Unrest); Unrest's self-titled first album, originally released on cassette; and lastly, William and Vivian's 'Fly To France', which was a Teenbeat supergroup with Mark and Phil from Unrest with Andrew from Eggs. The newsletter goes on to say that "all will be packaged in new Teenbeat Originals� digipaks along with the original cassette sleeves. Manufactured with on deluxe Teenbeat Archival CD-Rs. $8.99 each at Teenbeat.net." Sounds like a steal.
There was more good news in the mail-out, include this tease: "2006 TEENBEAT ANNIVERSARY SHOWS! on February 24, 2006 @ Galaxy Hut, Arlington Virginia. Performers to be announced soon!" You lucky DC-area people, you.
Picked up a couple of new cds yesterday, including the new East River Pipe, 'What Are You On?' (which I haven't had time to listen to yet), and Cat Power's new one, 'The Greatest' (which, so far, is fantastic). I nearly grabbed the new Robert Pollard, but the budget was blown. Speaking of Mr. Pollard, he'll be hitting the Paradise in Boston on April 21st, and tickets are on sale.
I love it when a couple of my favorite things collide: Comics scribe extraordinaire Warren Ellis plugged the wonderful Tender Trap in a recent blog post. Tender Trap's 'Language Lessons' EP is out now, and a full-length, entitled 'Talking Backwards', should be out in April on Matin�e in America, and Fortuna Pop! in Europe.
Ellis has two brand new books on shelves this week, including the first issue of zombie horror comic Black Gas on Avatar, and the debut of the almost indescribable Nextwave on Marvel. All of the above are worth buyin'.
You can also take a look at the entire first issue of Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith's excellent monthly buck-ninety-nine-book 'Fell' over at Newsarama. If that preview and an under-$2 price tag can't sell you on it, then nothing can. Also worth a look: an interview with Ellis conducted by Powers artist Michael Avon Oeming.
Another fine comics-centric interview for your enjoyment: The Onion AV Club talks to 'Local' creators Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly. Local issue #3 came out yesterday, and it's the best installment so far. Focusing on a broken-up rock band's return to their hometown, it really struck a chord with me (ouch, painful pun), and not just because my name and words ended up in the back. You'll see.
Cool news for one of my comic-making pals: American Elf (and so many other things) creator and sometime singer James Kochalka had one of his songs snagged to be the theme song for a new Fox TV series called The Loop. Cha-ching. The song is 'Hockey Monkey', which was written with Kochalka-cronies The Zambonis, and you can hear all the details in this extensive podcast that fansite Kochalkaholic did a couple weeks ago. Set in Chicago, The Loop premieres on Fox on Wednesday, March 15th at 9:30 PM EST, immediately after American Idol. Ideally, the show will not suck, and the fact that both Philip Baker Hall and Mimi Rogers are in the cast bodes well for it.
For 24 geeks, this is too damn cool: The Jacktracker!, a wayfaring map that tracks Jack Bauer's travels around L.A. (and beyond) during the ongoing season. So obsessive, and so great. And for a fairly funny Bauer-related anecdote, check out SNL's Andy Samberg appearing on Letterman recently, where he recounts a Kiefer encounter that could have gone very, very badly indeed.
For fellow fans of The Colbert Report: A series of four podcasts in which TV critic Tim Goodman interviews Stephen Colbert. Great stuff.
And for fellow fans of Boston-based mystery author Robert B. Parker (Spenser, Jesse Stone, & Sunny Randall novels), he'll be reading and signing the upcoming fifth Jesse Stone book, Sea Change, at the downtown Boston Borders Bookstore on School St. The book gets released on February 7th, and the signing is on Thursday, February 16th at 12:30pm.
And finally, I sure hope you remembered to celebrate Trogday earlier this month. Those who forgot are risking severe burnination... so don't make the same mistake next year.
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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