Monday, March 19, 2007
Sharing some things that have caught my eyes and ears lately...
Following up on my Rob Crow / Heavy Vegetable live post from last week, tomorrow sees the official release of yet another Rob-related project: "Wake Up Swimming" is the first album from Other Men, and it's arriving courtesy of his own Robcore label. The band is the crack trio of Rob, Manolo Turner, and Travis Nelson... in other words, 3/4ths of Heavy Vegetable. Listen to three songs on their MySpace page, including this one...
The only place I can see to order the album so far is via Amazon, or straight from Rob himself at live shows. The final show of his solo tour (with the backing band that includes Manolo and Travis) is Wednesday in San Diego.
Also on Wednesday, and right here at home, is the long-awaited (and long sold-out) return of Explosions in the Sky to the Boston area. After listening to NPR's live broadcast of the band's Saturday night stop in Washington, DC, I'm even more jazzed for the show. NPR has already uploaded the EiTS set from that night (along with tourmates The Paper Chase and Eluvium), so head over there to start streaming. Here's a taste...
Mp3: Explosions In The Sky - "Your Hand In Mine" (live)
(via NPR, at the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC, 3/17/07)
Courtesy of another fine public broadcasting medium: my TiVo recently grabbed a rebroadcast of Cat Power's fantastic set with the Memphis Rhythm Band on Austin City Limits, and was happily surprised to see them perform a live version of Chan's "Cross Bones Style". As far as I knew, they didn't have this older song worked out for last year's full-band tour, so we didn't get to see it when they hit Boston. Here it is, segued seamlessly into the Stones' "Satisfaction"...
Mp3: Cat Power & the Memphis Rhythm Band
"Cross Bones Style / (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction"
(live on Austin City Limits)
Check out a video clip from the show and a brief interview with Chan (along with the same from the Raconteurs, who shared the episode) at the Austin City Limits site.
On the subject of Cat Power, Chan Marshall was recently subjected to the confounding entity known as Ian Svenonius on an episode of Soft Focus, the chat show he hosts on VBS.TV. The interview is divided in four video chunks, and here are direct links to each one: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4. Other guests on the show so far include Ian Mackaye, Will Oldham, Henry Rollins, Genesis P. Orridge, and most recently, Andrew W.K..
I don't put much stock in the whole Rock & Roll Hall of Fame business, nor any other meaninglessly subjective music awards shows, so until this year I'd never actually watched one of the televised ceremonies. But the presence of R.E.M., one of my "formative bands", and to a lesser extent Patti Smith, sucked me into recording and skimming through the entire over-long stroke-fest. And as expectedly ridiculous as most of it was, I found myself genuinely moved by Eddie Vedder's spoken induction of misters Stipe, Buck, Mills, & Berry. While I'm not a fan of the guy's band, he sure gives good speech. And to see Bill Berry behind the kit for "Begin The Begin" and "Gardening At Night" provided a certain thrill that the boys from Athens haven't conjured up in me in quite a long time. While Buck's too-quiet amp seemed to go on the fritz for that first song (perhaps explaining why he chucked it off the stage, and straight at some suit's legs, after the set. Well, that or booze.), the sound on "Gardening At Night" was just right.
Here are those two cuts, along with "Man On The Moon" (a song I'm not exactly partial to) performed with Mr. Vedder, and their cover of the Stooges "I Wanna Be Your Dog", with assistance from Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye...
Mp3: R.E.M. - "Begin The Begin" (live)
Mp3: R.E.M. - "Gardening At Night" (live)
Mp3: R.E.M. - "Man On The Moon" (live with Eddie Vedder)
Mp3: R.E.M. & Patti Smith - "I Wanna Be Your Dog" (live Stooges cover)
all live at the 2007 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
A couple of excellent online interviews I'd like to draw your attention to...
And speaking of Elliott, The Rawking Refuses To Stop has just started an amazing week-long series of posts spotlighting Mr. Smith's live covers, 47 in all. Today's first installment gathers together the Beatles-related songs, and tomorrow is the Kinks. Amazing stuff, and it makes me miss him all the more.
Boston's own Wheat officially sprang back into action last December with the release of the "That's Exactly What I Wanted... Exactly That" mini-album on Empyrean Records, but that was just a tease for the May 22nd release of the full-length "Everyday I Said A Prayer For Kathy And Made A One Inch Square" (colored vinyl arrives later this year). A video for the song "I Had Angels Watching Over Me" should show up on Pitchfork next month, but first, we'll get a chance to see the band return to the stage: Wheat plays Cambridge's TT the Bears on March 31st, and then hits Philly & New York City in late-April. Check this tourdates page for details, and keep an eye there for a full North American tour once the album arrives.
Seattle's loss is Boston's (re)gain: Songwriter, guitarist, former Pedro the Lion member, proud papa, and drummer T.W. Walsh has just returned east after a stint on the west coast, and the musical benefits arrive quickly: He'll play his first area show on Tuesday night, March 27th at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. Word is he's working on a new full-band version of The Soft Drugs, and might get some assistance at the Lizard Lounge show from friends (which is why it's billed at T.W. Walsh & the Prohibition). Also playing that night are the Patrons, Summer Villains, and Neil Lawrence.
Take a listen to some Soft Drugs songs at MySpace, or grab the most recent free downloadable mp3 below. You can also get accompanying lyrics and artwork for it right over here...
Can't wait to see some Soft Drugs songs played on a stage in front of me. Our already-bustling music scene just got another boost.
We're very fortunate to have another great songwriter back with us in New England, former Texan and Transona Five member Chris Anderson, whom I met years ago just after moving to Boston (brought together by our shared love of Low). Though he returned to Texas for school, he's once again living back here in the Boston area, and maintaining the Transona Five MySpace page, where he's been sharing up a whole bunch of unreleased songs.
While T5 hasn't been active for a long while, and a criminally unreleased album haunted them after the slow fade, there were whispers of some kind of reemergence before the sad news struck: Transona Five (and more recently, The Swells) member Chris Foley tragically passed away in late-January. Chris A. has a heartfelt eulogy for his friend and bandmate shared here.
In the wake of Foley's passing, the band continues to share streamable songs, and it looks like things are underway to change the status of that "lost" album to "unlost". Keep an eye on their MySpace blog for more.
Also in tribute to a tragic loss: "Love Goes On", the almost-finished compilation of admiring artists performing songs by Grant McLennan and his Go-Betweens. Many covers have been gathered since McClennan's death last year, including ones by Portastatic, The Bats, The Clientele, Trembling Blue Stars, and the Orchids, but one song is conspicuously missing: the title track, "Love Goes On". Rare Victory has opened up that spot to anyone who wants to give the song a shot, and they'll pick the version they like best, so long as you submit it by March 29th. That's just 10 days away, so if you haven't motivated by now, time's a wastin'.
And since I mentioned Portastatic, didja catch their four-song live appearance on NPR's World Cafe a couple months back? It's worth streaming, and to prove it I'll share up one song from the set...
Out next week: The mouth-watering 6-disk box set of The Wedding Present's "Complete Peel Sessions" on Sanctuary Records. Drool. They were rarely less than brilliant when playing for Mr. Peel, either in his studio sessions or totally live... some of the best versions of their material come from those 12 sessions. I could easily justify buying the thing if I didn't have so many of the tracks already... but it appears there might be just enough unreleased ones to suck me in anyway. Oh, who am I kidding, there's no free will involved here.
It is a simple fact that I worship at the altar of Jeff Martin, aka the man behind Idaho. Whether it's his early feedback-laden, full-band material or his more recent piano-based aural pastiches, I have unwavering faith that whatever he man releases, I will love. And so it feels like a very long wait since the 2005 Idaho disc "The Lone Gunman", but it appears that we may get some new songs, and even some live dates, sometime this year.
A late-December note on his reborn messageboard says, about new material...
"new CD in the works...no drums....sort of mellow but very different than the lone gunman.... im really having a good time with it. 5 songs done....need at least 5 more...should be ready for some sort of release by the spring. no soundtrack work as of yet.......some good prospects lurking in the background though...lets hope i dont get anything for the next couple of months so i can finish the CD....either way...it'll be out soon"And just a couple weeks back he posted...
"got some good vocals done today. sorry to be cheeky but i think this is gonna be a great CD whenever if its ever done"So, barring any soundtrack work (he's scored a couple TV shows and films in the past), we should get word of a new Idaho album sometime soon. He also responded to a question about 2007 live shows with this: "i really do hope so. ill know a lot more in the next couple of months.". I hope so, too.
While we wait, Jeff has started sharing up lots of random video footage at the newly established JeffMartin.net. Along with some family video, and everyday footage of him and his girlfriend Maryanna spending time together, he's also posted an excellent Idaho video and some samples of his soundtrack work...
Video: Idaho - "Live Today"
TV Clip: Jeff Martin - "Inconceivable" (NBC)
TV Clip: Jeff Martin - "The Days" (ABC)
TV Clip: Jeff Martin - "Still Life" (FOX - never aired)
And what may be my favorite video find from his site (and those who know me will understand):
Video: "Shouting Squirrel!"
If you're looking to listen to some Idaho, in addition to the MySpace page, check out this thread for a couple of live tracks from a full-band show in Spain last summer, or snag a few rarities from the unreleased page of the Sliding Past fan site. Jeff also made "Cactus Man Rides Again" (track 14 from "The Lone Gunman") available for free download, as it was left off the European release of the album. It is no longer on the official site, but you can still get it here...
To stream "The Lone Gunman" album in its gorgeous entirety, go here, and you can read an interview with Jeff conducted by Loose Record last summer.
And finally, congrats to Almanac reader Matt J. in Boston, who won himself admission for two to Wednesday night's Hero Cycle show at the Abbey Lounge in Somerville, along with a copy of their "Lakes and Ponds" EP.
I'll have a couple more contests up shortly, but I'll leave you with a preview of this week's shared live set, which I should have up on Wednesday...
Mp3: The Shins - "Caring Is Creepy" (live)
(at the Orpheum, Boston, MA, 3/15/2007)
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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