At last, this coming Saturday brings The New Year to town in support of their self-titled third album, released just a few weeks back on Touch & Go. It should come as no shock (to either myself or any regular 'Nac visitor) that the disc is the front-runner for my fave of the year, given that TNY (and Bedhead before it) sit solidly in my top five, and have for the better parts of two decades now. Yes, I'm that predictable, but only because Matt & Bubba Kadanes' ability to construct a collection of moving songs is so damn dependable.
Hard to believe it's been 10 years since the brothers Kadane closed the books on Bedhead, I so clearly remember reading (and being crushed by) the news. Seven years of brilliance, fully-formed right out of the gate, soundtracking so many of my age-20-something ups and downs. In that final mailing list missive, Matt & Bubba wrote a couple things that made the break-up easier to take: "...in some form we'll continue." and "... don't be alarmed if at some unspecified point in the future you all hear from us again." Sure enough, the mourning period was a short one: Word of The New Year's formation came just one year later, and a debut disc arrived in early 2001.
As has almost always been the case, necessitated by distance and day jobs, the Kadane brothers collaborate through the mail (first snail, then e-), sending demos back and forth to flesh out guitar and vocal contributions before bringing rest of the band in to add their respective layers. In those relatively rare instances when all the members can come together (due to living all over the U.S., and in drummer Chris Brokaw's case, playing guitar in probably a half-dozen different projects), practice and studio-time gets booked, and if we're lucky, an album and tour is the result. And this year is one of those lucky ones.
So not only do we get a set from The New Year this weekend, but we were privy to something of a preview over the summer, when Matt and Bubba did a few dates opening for the mighty Bottomless Pit, ostensibly to shake off some live rust and give some new songs a test drive in stripped-down form. Their July 12th visit to the Middle East upstairs (the same Cambridge stage they'll hit this Saturday) not only offered us a rare listen to how the new stuff sounds in pre-band form, but gave us bare versions of a couple Bedhead songs, including personal fave "Crushing". Still gets me every single time. A Boston bonus: Chris Brokaw was on hand to not only grace us with an warm-up set, but to add his guitar to opener "The End's Not Near".
With Bubba Kadane's kind permission, here's the siblings' entire summertime set for your downloading pleasure. Pick up your tickets for Saturday's show (which includes openers Tre Orsi and Dirty on Purpose) here or at the Middle East box office, order up a copy of their new album direct from Touch & Go, and see below for even more audio and informational goodness...
While on the west coast last week, the band visited KEXP in Seattle and played four songs, which you can stream for another few days in the station's archives (select Saturday, Sept. 27th at 1:05pm PST). In case you miss it, here are two of the four, "MMV" off the new disc, and a personal fave from 2004's "The End Is Near", "Chinese Handcuffs"...
If the non-Kadane guitarist on stage during this New Year tour looks familiar, that's because it's Centro-matic frontman Will Johnson (taking the place, coincidentally, of his former Funland bandmate Peter Schmidt). Now that's what I call a guest star. FYI, Centro-Matic and South San Gabriel will be hitting the East Coast in November together, so we won't have to wait long to hear Will's own songs.
If you caught the band at the start of their tour in Texas last month and the drummer didn't look familiar, that's because it wasn't Mr. Brokaw. He was otherwise occupied playing guitar in Thurston Moore's band as they recreated the "Psychic Hearts" album at ATP NY, but joined them for the fourth stop in New Mexico. No one was more surprised to see him in the Catskills than me, and during that Saturday morning baseball game I couldn't resist saying "Hey, aren't you supposed to be in Texas right now?".
10/9 - Johnny Brenda's - Philadelphia, PA 10/10 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY 10/11 - The Middle East - Boston, MA 10/12 - The Livingroom - Providence, RI 10/13 - Club Metronome - Burlington, VT 10/14 - Le Divan Orange - Montreal, QC 10/15 - Lee's Palace - Toronto, ON 10/16 - The Pike Room - Pontiac, MI 10/17 - Empty Bottle - Chicago, IL 10/18 - Maintenance Shop - Ames, IA 10/19 - High Dive - Champaign, IL 10/20 - Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH 10/21 - DC9 - Washington, DC
11/7 - DB's - Utrecht, Holland 11/8 - L'escalier - Liege, Belgium 11/9 - Rescue Rooms - Nottingham, UK 11/10 - The Kazimier - Liverpool, UK 11/11 - Nice N Sleazys - Glasgow, UK 11/12 - The Luminaire - London, UK 11/13 - Mains d'Oeuvre - Paris, France 11/14 - EVE Arena - Grenoble, France CANCELLED 11/15 - Tanned Tin Festival - Castello, Spain 11/16 - Grrrnd Zero - Lyon, France 11/17 - Bad Bonn - Duedingen, Switzerland 11/18 - Lokomotiv - Bologna, Italy 11/19 - Chelsea - Vienna, Austria 11/20 - Orangehouse - Munich, Germany 11/21 - Magnet - Berlin, Germany 11/22 - Prinzenbar - Hamburg, Germany 11/23 - Trix - Antwerp, Belgium 11/24 - Pret A Ecouter Festival - Heidelberg, Germany
And just because I wrote 'em down, here are the lyrics to "MMV"...
There are things some people classify as pleasures That, just before I die, I'll have no regrets having missed: Camping, and orgies, and places on the body I've never kissed.
But however you define, whatever you have in mind We both have a need for things we don't need Like belief, and relief, and pleasure, and grief
Now I'm sitting here waiting to leave, New Year's Eve Nothing good came from MMV But death and destruction, and my new resolution: To drink more, and laugh more, and sleep more, and dream more
the fine print... If anyone has an issue with these Mp3s being made available, just let me know (my contact info in the 'nac faq). Live sets recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps Mp3s. Files are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.