Wednesday, January 04, 2006
"Whoops, there goes another year... whoops, there goes another pint of beer..." - Billy Bragg
The first truly great album of 2006 is already out, if only in digital form. It's New Radiant Storm King's 'The Steady Hand', which appeared on iTunes last weekend. Now, I'm not much of an iTunes user... I'm one of those weirdos who needs to hold a disc in their hands on the actual release date; to take in the package design, read every detail of the liner notes as I listen through for the first time, start to finish. But my patience crumbled on this one.
The two song samples posted on the Darla site over the past couple months got me excited enough to grab it as soon as an Almanac reader let me know that it was there, and I haven't stopped listening to 'The Steady Hand' since. The full versions of 'The Winding Staircase' and 'Fighting Off the Pricks' are better than promised, and stuff like 'From a Roof' and 'Quicksand Under Carpet', just as good. Honestly, there's not a bad track on the thing... not a single one I'd skip. Hell, even the iTunes-only bonus track is a keeper.
I'm loving the warm, play-it-loud production... easily the best sounding album they've ever made. The energetic new(ish) rhythm section really delivers, but it's Matt Hunter and Peyton Pinkerton's infectious dual guitar interplay that floors me. I'm just sucker for that stuff, and they pull it of so well. It's a hook-filled rock record with pop moments, taking the best parts of NRSK's noisy past and exanding upon it... it may be their best collection of songs to date, but I'm a little drunk on them all right now. Ask me again when, and if, I sober up. Doubt I'll say much different, though.
It's one of those discs that's gotten me excited about new music again, an album that I'm instantly sure will sit high in my 'best of 2006' in another 12 months. I'm pretty damn excited to see these songs played on a stage, so hopefully word of a Boston show will come down soon.
New Radiant Storm King's 'The Steady Hand' is in stores on February 14th, although Darla is selling it early through their website right now. I didn't even hesitate to pay for this sucker twice, once to Apple and once to the Darla crew... it's so worth it.
There's a little new year's update over at The Wedding Present's website, and it teases us with some cool stuff in the works: "We're hoping 2006 will see the release of a live DVD and we've been in negotiation with Sanctuary Records here in the UK regarding the release of a complete set of Wedding Present Peel Sessions." Yes, please.
Can I just say how bitter I am that Mogwai (or their booking crew) has decided to shun Boston on their upcoming March tour? There, I just did. Come on, give us that open slot on the 5th, will ya?
Sloppy Art offers up live recordings of 5 new Crooked Fingers tracks from an Eric Bachmann solo show last month. Very nice. You can grab some live radio session songs from Super Furry Animals over there, too.
While Catherine Wheel frontman Rob Dickinson does his solo thing, guitarist Brian Futter & drummer Neil Sims are making music together as 50 ft. monster. Check out a couple of demos at their website or MySpace page.
As a major Versus fan, I enthusiastically follow all of their various offshoots, so I was glad when for the records directed us to some samples from the upcoming debut disc from the Richard Baluyut-fronted trio Whysall Lane over at the Midheaven Mailorder site. I'm pretty psyched to hear Jawbreaker's Adam Pfahler behind the drum kit again. You can hear more at the Whysall Lane MySpace site. The full-lengther will be out in February on Blackball Records.
Ex-Boo Radleys frontman Martin Carr, still releasing music as bravecaptain, will make his next album available for download on January 30th, for free. Yup, 8 tracks, no charge, available as either mp3s or high quality .wav files. Says the site: "the idea of releasing this album in this way is to make bravecaptain's music freely available to as many people as possible, in order to enable the bravecaptain fanbase to continue to grow."
That's not the only Boo-related news, though... long-silent guitarist Sice has a new band and some new demos. They're called Paperlung, so head on over. (via excellent online)
That killer Twilight Singers live DVD (previously only available via limited official sales on ebay) is getting a proper release. One Little Indian will put it out on January 30th. I've got one, and it's simply a must-own for any Greg Dulli / Afghan Whigs fans.
In case you missed 'em, a couple of pretty funny guest editorials: One from Buffy-Angel-Firefly guy Joss Whedon on the 'future of television' for TV Guide, and another in the NY Times (bugmenot login) from Curb Your Enthusiasm creator Larry David about why you won't find him at a showing of Brokeback Mountain.
Hot on the heels of those ace Muppet Show stamps that came out late last year, it's been announced that the US Postal Service will be releasing a set with DC Comics characters. Check here for a complete list of 2006 commemoratives, including Favorite Children's Book Animals (Wild Thing from Where The Wild Things Are, Wilbur from Charlotte's Web, Curious George, etc.), Baseball Sluggers (Roy Campanella, Hank Greenberg, Mickey Mantle, & Mel Ott), and tons more.
I was kindly sent a couple giveaway copies of the new Michael Winterbottom film 9 Songs on DVD, which I'll happily offer up to a couple of (adult) Almanac readers. Why adults only? Why, the loads of unfiltered sex, of course! The film made headlines last year for it's very frank, and therefore very unrated, depiction of a sexual relationship between two London concert-goers. They get it on in between live performances by the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Elbow, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and more.
Unfortunately, I found the film fairly boring, the sex scenes not so sexy, and even the live concert footage felt, for the most part, kind of uninspiring. The best part of the DVD, for me, was the bonus Elbow promo-documentary. If you're an Elbow fan, that's well worth checking out.
So the first two U.S. or Canadian readers (and over age 18, don't get me sued) to leave a comment below will get a copy of the DVD sent to 'em. Don't worry about sharing your postal address, but leave your email addy so I can get in touch with ya.
Ok, back to the grind I go...
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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