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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Monday, January 01, 2007

Mp3s: Touch & Go's 25th - Day Three

My first mp3 post of 2007 is the third and final installment of my look back at the Touch & Go Records 25th Anniversary Celebration. The 3-day September festival out in Chicago was the high-point of my live music-going year, and it's been a joy going through all my recorded audio and cleaning it up for sharing. Well, mostly a joy. At times it can be tedious work, and these three posts have taken an insane amount of time to put together. And the irony? I'm posting this great stuff at a time when Almanac readers are at a holiday-induced low-point.

So you regular visitors are well rewarded these with live mp3s from Arcwelder, Quasi, The Monorchid, Enon, Three Mile Pilot, Tara Jane ONeil with Chris Brokaw, Seam, Brick Layer Cake, The Black Heart Procession, Coco Rosie, Pinback, and festival-closers Calexico. Some great performances, including a few excellent covers, can be found below.

Head over here for songs from first day performers Shipping News, Supersystem, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Girls Against Boys, and !!!, or right here for the second day, which included The New Year, Uzeda, Pegboy, Tim & Andy (of Silkworm & Bottomless Pit), the Ex, Killdozer, Jon (Mekons) & Kat (The Ex), Didjits, P.W. Long, Negative Approach, Sally Timms (Mekons), Scratch Acid, Man or Astro-Man?, Big Black, and Shellac.


Mp3: "Truth" (live)

Mp3: "Cranberry Sauce" (live)

While the weekend included more than a few reunited acts, there were two bands that sealed my trip to Chicago when I heard they'd be playing: Arcwelder and Seam. Though neither band "officially" broke up, live appearances from either can come years apart, and newly recorded material is nowhere in sight.

The first and only other time I saw Arcwelder was well over a decade ago when they opened for Six Finger Satellite and Jesus Lizard in Burlington, Vermont. I'd never have guessed I'd be more blown away by them than their tourmates, especially considering the other two bands were amazing that night. But Arcwelder just killed me, from the first notes of set-opener "Cranberry Sauce". Their 1993 album, "Pull", became one of my all-time faves, I grabbed up all their 7 inches, and eagerly awaited future releases and their live return. But that second show never came. Until this festival.

And if I never see them again, "Cranberry Sauce" makes the perfect instrumental bookend as both the first and last song I ever saw Arcwelder play. But I truly hope that doesn't end up being the case.

(Official site / T&G page / MySpace)


Mp3: "All The Same" (live)

Mp3: "Peace & Love" (live)

I'm a longtime Quasi fan, and far too much time had passed since I'd seen 'em live, so I was psyched to see songs played from the couple albums they've put out in the meantime. Singer/guitarist/piano-man Sam Coomes and drummer/singer Janet Weiss were joined by Joanna Bolme on bass, who I hadn't yet seen as part of the trio. (an aside: Weiss and Bolme are now both part of Stephen Malkmus' Jicks, so hopefully both bands will be able to stay relatively active as they share a rhythm section).

For whatever reason, it struck me that Quasi's piano-based jams didn't work as well for me in the open outdoor (and unfortunately rain-soaked) environment, but the guitar stuff hit me just right. Listening back to the recording, though, it's the key-centric songs that stand out. Go figure. Either way, when they come back through Boston and play a more appropriately-sized venue, I'm there.

Sam Coomes recently shared some lengthy and slightly sad thoughts on the festival at the Quasi site, written after he'd received a stack of festival reviews from Touch & Go that included only one mention of Quasi's performance, and a negative one at that. I'll copy a chunk of his words here...
"Normally I pretty much shrug, toss these things into the garbage & forget them - easy enough after having been in bands making records etc. for over 20 years & seen 100s of these critics come & go, & no one remembers a word they wrote. But the fact that it was the sole entry in a large stack of reviews has to give some pause. Granted, we were playing a shitty slot early on a rainy Sunday, but that says something in itself, since we were deemed only to merit such a slot by the festivals organisers. I'm starting to get the feeling people dont like atonal piano banging! & after practicing all those years to get the atonal piano banging just right. Oh well. Our last record was easily one of our best, but few could be bothered to notice that. So probably the logical thing to do at this point would be to call it a day - our time in the sun is over & our little audience has evaporated. But of course that is not our way, so now we begin to work on new material & discuss how to record the next album & I feel confident we can again create a fine record perhaps our finest which may or may not achieve the slightest notice. If that is our fate I can live with that."
Read the rest here. Someone always has to get the short end of the schedule at festivals, but honestly, with bands as great as Arcwelder, the New Year, and Shipping News starting off each day, the early slots weren't exactly filler. Too bad about the rain, though. He's right about their latest album, "When The Going Gets Dark", by the way. It's one of their best, and deserves to be heard by many more discriminating ears.

(Official site / T&G page / MySpace)

The Monorchid

Mp3: "Curse of the Potty-Trained Children" (live)

Mp3: "New Tricks" (live)

Equipment failure dogged The Monorchid's performance, but that only added to gripping recklessness of their set. An angry mess, with Chris Thomson screaming and growling all over it, eventually declaring it their own "civil war reenactment". Hard to say which side won.

(T&G page / Southern page / Simple Machines page)


Mp3: "Ashish" (live)

Mp3: "Which Way To Go?"
(live Big Boys cover)

I think I'd maybe heard just one or two Enon songs before they took the stage, and I remembered them sounding nothing like they did on this day. What we got was a catchy-as-hell pop trio with a killer drummer in the animated Matt Schulz. I loved 'em, and find myself listening more to this live recording than to the album I picked up at the Reckless Records tent after their set (2003's "Hocus Pocus"). They played a bunch of new songs, including "Aashish" above, which has me very much looking forward to their next release.

(Official site / T&G page / MySpace)

Three Mile Pilot

Mp3: "97-MT" (live)

Mp3: "Aqua-Magnetic" (live)

While I knew the story behind Three Mile Pilot (a band that pre-dates the curent projects of Pinback's Zach Smith and Black Heart Procession's Pall Jenkins), I hadn't actually heard much of their musical collaboration until they hit the stage. And whaddya know, it kinda sounded like a nice gelling of BHP and Pinback, what with Zach's distinctive bass playing and Jenkin's vocals. The studio versions of the two songs shared here can be found on 1995s "Chief Assassin To The Sinister", and while their last album was in 1997, word is they'll be releasing one on Touch & Go sometime in 2007.

(Official site / Wikipedia page / MySpace)

Tara Jane ONeil

Mp3: "Howl" (live)

Mp3: "Famous Yellow Belly" (live)

I couldn't have asked for a better lead-in to a reunited Seam than Tara Jane ONeil with Chris Brokaw. I'd picked up Tara Jane's new disc, "In Circles", at the Reckless tent the night before, glad that it was available there a few days before its official release the following Tuesday. I went to sleep after the first night of the fest with it playing softy on my host's stereo, and being able to see her play those same songs the next day was a real pleasure. Even with Seam on deck, I wanted more.

(Official site / T&G page / MySpace)


Mp3: "Berlitz" (live)

Mp3: "Sweet Pea" (live)

My beloved Seam, oh how I missed thee. I'd been fortunate enough to see them a bunch (terrible pun) when they were around, and honestly never thought I'd get the chance again. Save for a couple benefit-inspired appearances, the band all but disappeared once frontman/songwriter Sooyoung Park left Chicago for the West Coast years ago, eventually to join up on guitar with the band EE. And while I'm glad he's still making music, I hold out hope that he's been writing and hoarding some songs of his own all this time, and that another Seam album remains in our future.

(T&G page / unofficial MySpace page / Fansite)

Brick Layer Cake

Mp3: "Sitting Pretty" (live)

Mp3: "Stars" (live)

BLC is the solo guise of Shellac drumming god Todd Trainer. Just the man, his stylin' haircut, and a guitar he borrowed from Arcwelder's Bill Graber. Shared here are two songs, written over a decade apart.

(T&G page / MySpace / Southern page)

The Black Heart Procession

Mp3: "Not Just Words" (live)

Mp3: "You Got Lucky"
(live Tom Petty cover)

Of all the acts that played that weekend, The Black Heart Procession were probably the one that I'd heard most without ever seeing live, and I'm glad to have remedied that. Songs from "The Spell", their most recent release, had an added emotional weight to them, and really made me want to catch the band in a more intimate setting. Oddly enough, that particular Petty cover perfectly fit BRP's sound, something I wouldn't have guessed. "A good label is hard to find" indeed.

(Official site / T&G page / MySpace)

Coco Rosie

Mp3: "K-Hole" (live)

Mp3: "South 2nd" (live)

While I can understand the artistry and pure sonic diversity that the duo called Coco Rosie bring to the Touch & Go table, they may very well define the phrase "not my cup of tea". After a day that included two of my favorite guitar-heavy bands of all time, I simply couldn't get into the harp-meets-human-beatbox-meets-children's toys combo. I used the opportunity to grab a long-awaited meal, but not after capturing a couple songs for any fans out there.

(Official site / T&G page / MySpace)


Mp3: "Syracuse" (live)

Mp3: "Non-Photo Blue" (live)

Pinback was in fine form, as always. You could tell, not just from their between-song words but from their in-song energy, that they were more than honored to be part of the T&G family. Rob Crow's fanboy humility was seriously endearing, and his band's own fans let him know that they deserved to be up on that stage. While another Rob solo album is imminent, as well as something brewing from Zach's Three Mile Pilot, let's cross fingers that it's not too long before we get some more Pinback.

(Official site / T&G page / MySpace)


Mp3: "Sunken Waltz" (live)

Mp3: "Alone Again Or"
(live Love cover)

Mp3: "A Letter To Bowie Knife" (live)

A fittingly celebratory end to the three days and thirty-something bands, Calexico's raucous set of Southwestern-flavored songs really hit the spot, and accented just how diverse Touch & Go's lineup has become over the years. While other indies have either struggled find an identity, or simply struggled to stay afloat, Touch & Go has succeeded by discovering a wide variety of truly talented bands and treating them well. And dudging from the unending accolades that T&G founder Corey Rusk received throughout the weekend, he treats them very well indeed.

(Official site / T&G page / MySpace)

And just as he welcomed us about 50 hours earlier, The Hideout's talkative Tim Tuten bids the appreciate crowd farewell as we wander off into the Chicago streets, hunting for hard-to-find cabs and crowded buses...

Lastly, some T&G-related links...
  • Torrent-friendly types can download a few full festival sets over at DimeADozen, including Arcwelder and Quasi. Most are thanks to this taper, so check their profile for a list of available sets.

  • Check YouTube for various T&G 25th-related video clips, including one of Arcwelder performing "Raleigh".

  • As always, you can listen to all the songs shared on the Almanac at The Hype Machine

  • If you haven't yet, check out my posts on day one and day two of Touch & Go's 25th, where you'll find more related links.
  • the fine print... If anyone has an issue with these live tracks being made available, just say the word (contact info in the 'nac faq). Recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps mp3s. Mp3s are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.

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    neil halstead
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    on november 14th, 2008
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