Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Things mentioned and linked below include Swervedriver, Retribution Gospel Choir, Film School, The Night Marchers, Sea Wolf, The Jealous Girlfriends, Slowdive/Mojave 3's Neil Halstead, Rogue Wave, Nada Surf, Billy Bragg, Elbow, Sigur Ros, Ida, R.E.M., New Radiant Storm King, The Mountain Goats, Sebadoh, Silkworm, "The Wire", and Kids in the Hall.
New Boston area shows of note, from ye olde left hand column...
Nada Surf made an appearance on the Tonight Show last week to play "Weightless" (which, as Leno plugged, happens to appear on the "Heroes" soundtrack. Ah, sweet network synergy). The trio was augmented with an electric cello player and a keyboardist, filling out the sound nicely. Take a listen...MySpace Transmissions recently as well.
Another late night appearance last week was Billy Bragg's on Conan O'Brien, performing "I Keep Faith", off his upcoming "Mr. Love & Justice" disc. The performance was unlike anything you'll hear Bragg do again, as his backing band was Conan's own (minus regular drummer Max Weinberg), including the horn section. Here 'tis... Billy's recent opinion piece in the New York Times about internet royalties for musicians, he shares further thoughts in a dialogue with commenters at The Stalwart. Well worth a read.
Also previewing tracks from an almost-out album was Elbow, who recorded a session at Maida Vale for BBC1, and stopped into Zane Lowe's show last week to share some of the results. Not sure how many songs they tracked in all, but two were played last Wednesday (stream here until tomorrow), and another Thursday (stream "One Day Like This" here for two more days). In addition to first single "Grounds For Divorce", they performed this one..."The Seldom Seen Kid", is already out in the UK, and arrives on U.S. shores on April 22nd.
Music Slut directs our attention to a YouTube video recording of a new Sigur Ros song that will likely/hopefully appear on their next album. Check out some new photos from the recording sessions of said album back in January here.
Ida has shared a video for a song from their beautiful latest album, "Lovers Prayers". Head here for the Megan Holmes-directed clip for the song "The Weight of the Straw".
I'm really enjoying "Accelerate", the almost-out new R.E.M. album, now streaming at iLike. As I said awhile back, I've found something worthwhile in most of their late-era records, but haven't been this instantly struck by one in many, many years, and I'm happily surprised. Whenever I hear the phrase "return to form", I fear contrived emptiness, potential trying-too-hard insincerity, but this one really sounds like R.E.M. just being R.E.M.. The songs, the production, the brevity, it's all working for me. And I'm very glad to be able to write that in 2008. Stream the entire thing here, and you don't even have to register to do it.
Thanks to Jay @ Clicky Clicky for the heads up that there's going to be another New Radiant Storm King album later this year. Their last one, "The Steady Hand", was one of my faves of 2006, so I'm fairly eager to hear what they follow it up with. The band plays as part of a promising line-up at PA's Lounge on April 6th, with The Spanish Armada, Dr. Powerful (Ex-Polvo members within), and Bullpen Catcher (Ex-Kudgel within). Jay's update also allowed me to notice that the band shared an outtake from the "Winter's Kill" album on their MySpace page. Head there to hear "Doppelganger in Tow", along with three from "The Steady Hand" if you've never had the pleasure.
The Phoenix's On The Download shares up three videos from the Mountain Goats appearance at Museum of Fine Arts Boston a couple weekends ago: The title track from "Heretic Pride", a Rodney Crowell cover, and a brand new song called "Sign Of The Crow". Again, I must warn you... turn your volume down before you head to that page, as all three videos auto-start at the same time with an advertisement.
Back in August, Sebadoh's Lou Barlow said on his messageboard that the next reissue the band would be working on would be the excellent "Bubble & Scrape". Well, looks like the work's done, as a release date has been announced: The remastered and expanded "Bubble & Scrape" will arrive on May 5th via Sub Pop and Domino. Jason Loewenstein shared the full tracklisting here, and Barlow adds that the "Smash Your Head On The Punk Rock" reissue is planned, but that a reissue of "Weed Forestin'" is a bit up in the air.
Fellow Silkworm fans should be keeping an eye on the production blog for the in-progress "Couldn't You Wait" documentary, as new content is regularly added. Video clips and photos from the creator's recent trip out to California was added last month, and earlier this month they shared interview video clips with Steve Albini, Jeff Tweedy, Stephen Malkmus, Henry Owings, and Brian Teasley. Great stuff, which you can also see here. In case you haven't seen the 4-minute trailer yet, have a look here. Click here to help fund the thing, if you've got Silkworm love and some spare dollars.
Non-musical, but demanding the attendance of fans of HBO's now-ended, brilliant series "The Wire": A Harvard-hosted lecture and panel discussion on Friday, April 4th titled "HBO's 'The Wire': Racial Inequality and Urban Reality." Panelists will include Wire creator David Simon, Boston Police deputy superintendent and liaison to the homeless community Nora Baston, Columbia University's Sudhir Venkatesh, and Geoffrey Canada, the president of Harlem Children's Zone; William Julius Wilson of Harvard University will moderate the discussion, which starts at 5pm on Friday, April 4th. No registration is necessary, just arrive early enough to get in at 79 JFK Street near Harvard Square, Cambridge.
And in case you missed it, read this interesting article over at Time.com titled "The Wire's War on the Drug War", written by Wire series writers David Simon, Ed Burns, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, and Richard Price.
And on a completely different note, the no-longer-kids Kids in the Hall are touring again, and comedy saints be praised, one of their dates is in Boston. Yes, the Canadian quintet will be performing at the Citi Center (aka the Wang) on Thursday, April 17th, 2008, and I snagged myself 8th row tickets over the weekend. Get your own here, more details here.
If your appreciation for Buffy the Vampire Slayer remains despite its absence (unless you're reading the comics), you might want to have a listen to this recording of last week's cast reunion at this year's Paley Fest. You can also watch video interviews with the cast on the night of the reunion here. Links to more coverage can be found at Pop Candy, or Whedonesque, of course.
And lastly, for any Boston area readers, a reminder: If you're not doing anything tonight (aside from sleeping), I'll be on stage with four friends at the Abbey Lounge, playing the drums in Stratford Projects. It's the SP's first performance ever, and my first time behind the drums in quite awhile. Night owl's will appreciate that we hit the stage around 11:45pm, playing after St. Helena, who have been hosting a Tuesday night residency all month long.
A little info on Stratford Projects -- we're led by current Sixth Great Lake and former Guppyboy / Essex Green member Michael Barrett on guitar and vocals, and along with my rusty drumming, Mike's wife Anna will be playing keyboards, Neil Cleary plays guitar, and former Jumproper Adam Boc is on bass.
Needless to say, after waking at 6AM to listen to the first Japan-hosted Red Sox game of the season, I'll be taking a nice nap before hitting the stage almost 18 hours later...
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
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