...we've got the means to make amends. I am lost, I'm no guide, but I'm by your side. (Pearl Jam, Leash)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday Music Roundup, Tuesday edition

People, I tell you -- this month is going to be the death of me. I can't manage much banter, but I can offer you music.

No One's Better Sake
Little Joy

I love songs where something is a little off-kilter - syncopated or otherwise, just to keep you a bit ajar. Little Joy is the new sideband of Fabrizio Moretti (perhaps my favorite Stroke because of his divine percussive gifts), and the beginning of this song sounds a bit like your car radio has been jarred loose from its dashboard moorings. In Puerto Rico. In 1967. The eponymous Little Joy debut is out November 4th on Rough Trade.

Caroline Says, Part II
Lou Reed
I also love songs that bring you into them mid-thought, mid-scene. Songs are so ephemeral and short by nature that there's usually no way you can tell a cohesive story, as you would in a novel (well, unless you're maybe Josh Ritter but not many are). Lou Reed starts this song with Caroline getting up off the floor and finishing her sentence. She's angry, and I would be too because she apparently wants him to stop hitting her. Fair enough, and a bit heartbreaking. This snapshot comes from the live re-recording of the entire 1973 album Berlin: Live At St. Ann's Warehouse is out November 4th on Matador. When Berlin was first released, Rolling Stone reviewed it as one of "certain records so patently offensive that one wishes to take some kind of physical vengeance on the artists that perpetrate them...a distorted and degenerate demimonde of paranoia, schizophrenia, degradation, pill-induced violence and suicide." Thirty years later, the magazine named it one of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Wild Sweet Orange

Their band name sounds like Celestial Seasonings, but this song from Birmingham's Wild Sweet Orange is a lot more vibrant than a cup of tea. I think I first listened to this album upon reading ace-eared Bruce write that lead singer Preston Lovinggood --yes, that's his real name-- had a voice that was "just earnest enough to satisfy the needs of Grey's Anatomyrock fans (listen to "Aretha's Gold") but also disaffected and lethargically-not caring enough for you indie-rockers (listen to the Malkmus-like "House of Regret"). We Have Cause To Be Uneasy is out now on Canvasback Music, and was produced by Mike McCarthy (Spoon). WSO is on tour with Counting Crows and Margot and the Nuclear So and So's in the coming months.

Talk About
Dear And The Headlights
This tune from Arizona band Dear And The Headlights is about our differences, those foibles that drive the ones who love us crazy. It starts with lines about being warm and naked, come to save each other, and (like it goes for many of us) the song progresses from well-thought out guitar chords to a sort of jangly angry cacophony with yelled lyrics like "I said oh God damn it, you're so mean" by the end. The mood of the song is so perfect to soundtrack their argument, and the way he yells when he gets truly frustrated echoes the cracks in Conor Oberst's vocals. Their album is called Drunk Like Bible Times (stream it here) with song titles fitting the album moniker, like "I'm Not Crying. You're Not Crying, Are You?" That sounds about correct. Their next album is going to be called, And Verily Adam Lay With Eve, And The Lord Saw That It Was Good.

Done With Love
Whispertown 2000
I missed the Jenny Lewis/Whispertown2000 show in Denver last week, but my friend Jake made it out to see the fair Rilo Kileyan and her new favorite band. He spent most of his time going jelly-kneed over Jenny (what can you expect from a blog called I'd Leave My Girlfriend For Jenny Lewis?), but he also enjoyed the "Cat Power vibe" and eighties-tastic denim shorts of these ladies, Morgan Nagler and Vanesa Corbala of Whispertown2000 (who also appear on Lewis's new record). I saw WT2k open for She & Him at the Noise Pop fest in San Francisco in March, and they've got an alt-country vibe mixed with those doo-wop girl group harmonies. Their sophomore album Swim is due out October 21 on Acony Records.

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when i leave your arms / the things that i think of

This brand new Avett Brothers video for their song "Murder In The City" (off the Second Gleam EP) went live over on the Paste Magazine site today. It's quiet and gorgeous, but full of small moments that make me smile; the way his Seth's hands pause on the ivories, the smile shared when the brothers remember the trouble they got into when they were younger, the dark look that flits across Scott's face when he sings about "when I leave your arms, the things that I think of . . ." He looks so concerned. I know the feeling.

Murder In The City - The Avett Brothers

It's a whole different side of them than this; equally wonderful.


Dr. Dog at Denver's Hi-Dive on Saturday (with Delta Spirit and Hacienda)

Saturday night was a fantastic night for shows in Denver. I split my time equally between the Hi-Dive and the Gothic and caught a few superb and passionate performances.

First up, Hacienda opened the night at the Hi-Dive, in a sold out show with Dr. Dog and Delta Spirit. I didn't know what to expect from this band of Mexican-American brothers (+1 cousin) from San Antonio, Texas, but their sound fit in nicely with the serrated retro vibes of their tourmates. Their 6-song demo landed in the hands of Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys (who is quite the producer lately), and their debut album was recorded in his Akron, Ohio studio with members of Dr. Dog. Loud Is The Night is out now on Bomp Records.

She's Got A Hold On Me - Hacienda
(also stream the delicious "Hear Me Crying" on their MySpace)

Next up was Delta Spirit, who I already raved about here, and were just as good as I had hoped. I smiled a ridiculously huge smile throughout their whole set. They are heading out on the road with none other than the fantastic Nada Surf in the coming months; be sure to catch them if you can.

Two pics, then a video below (in the low light, but how great is that apt trashcan-percussion lid?):

[all photos from the first two acts here]


Finally . . . I left. No, really. Not out of spite for the wonderful Dr. Dog from Philly, but because the Dandy Warhols were taking the stage over at the Gothic. That's a story for another day. Luckily, I stumbled across a wonderful local taper who recorded the Dr. Dog set! If I close my eyes, spill a beer on my foot, and turn up the heater it's almost like being there.

09/27/08 - HI-DIVE
The Old Days
Hang On
The Way the Lazy Do
Army of Ancients
Ain’t It Strange
The Girl
The Breeze
Fool’s Life
The Ark
My Friend
100 Years
My Old Ways
The Beach
The Rabbit, The Bat, and The Reindeer
Worst Trip

Easy Beat
Die, Die, Die
Oh No
Fuck It


Taper Notes:
- Some PA/bass distortion was present in the later part of the show.
- Members of Delta Spirit were on stage for 2-3 songs.

[thanks to the awesome local Flat Response for taping!]

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds bring fire, brimstone and rock 'n' roll to Denver

Friday night around 2am I was having a conversation out in a dark alley, next to broken-out windows and dumpsters, with a fellow who told me that Nick Cave saved his life.

Back in high school he listened to punk and often felt alienated from the other kids, from the metalhead contingent, the popular rock and the hair bands. Discovering music like Nick Cave's work with The Birthday Party, and then his early albums with the Bad Seeds in the mid-'80s, had opened up whole new worlds of literate music to him that intelligently and ferociously reached across all boundaries and grabbed hold of him.

As we loitered in the darkness waiting for Nick Cave to emerge from the bowels of the Ogden Theatre after a mindblowingly amazing show, he told me how much Cave had resonated with him over the years. Standing there with his girlfriend, he held a copy of the 1985 album The Firstborn Is Dead to his chest, and in twenty minutes he would be walking away with Nick's writing across the front, lyrics to "A Train Long-Suffering" written in silver ink still wet around his picture on the black cover. As I touched his shoulder to say bye, he was shaking like a leaf.

I am a latecomer to the cult of Cave, but after Friday night's sold-out and powerful show, count me as a convert. Apocalyptic and spiritual metaphors are the strongest that come up after you are baptized by fire into a Nick Cave show. As he dances, stomps, writhes and howls onstage, slim and strong in his suit, sweating through his clothes, you feel like you are seeing some sort of punk-rock preacher come to save us from our sins (and planting ideas about a few new ones while he's at it).

It's not a gimmick nor a schtick like some Reverends in the rock world, but just the force of his personality, his intense band (with two drummers!!) and the raging quality of his songs. To get some idea of what the entire night was like, watch my favorite video of the year:


Cave is one of the most intelligent songwriters I know of, not afraid to mix the sacred and the profane to illustrate new meanings with a punch, or to take on old stories like the closing "Stagger Lee" and make it his own with lyrics I nearly blush to repeat. The music was potent, the performance pure undiluted rock 'n' roll. Cave performed everything from the title track from his latest album with aplomb (second in the set), to the earliest songs like "Tupelo" as well as beloved favorites like "Red Right Hand" and "The Mercy Seat." They held the stage for more than two visceral hours with no signs of letting up until the bitter end.

Setlist: Night of the Lotus Eaters / Dig Lazarus Dig!!! / Tupelo / Today's Lesson / The Weeping Song / Red Right Hand / Love Letter / Hold on to Yourself / The Mercy Seat / Moonland / Midnight Man / Deanna / We Call Upon the Author / Hard On For Love / Papa Won't Leave you, Henry ==encore== Wanted Man / Lyre of Orpheus / Stagger Lee

Friday night was one of the best shows I have seen in many moons, as I told Cave after the show. He replied that it had been his favorite of the tour as well despite some sound problems that plagued the beginning, leading to a hapless broken keyboard getting kicked off its stand by the towering Cave and his solid boots. Like everything else about the night, he was unrelenting.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds play Chicago tomorrow night, then a quick lap into Canada, and back to NYC and DC before heading back to Europe.


[Laurie Scavo got the shots of the show this time around;
I only got some after

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

God bless Paul Newman

Ah, Paul. What a legend.

Plastic Jesus (from Cool Hand Luke) - Paul Newman


Friday, September 26, 2008

Another new contest :: Delta Spirit/Dr. Dog on Saturday in Denver

Here's a quicklike last-minute contest for a show in Denver this weekend, since the last one went over so well. On Saturday night, Philadelphia's Dr. Dog is playing the illustrious Hi-Dive with the sunshiney sounds of San Diego's Delta Spirit, and I've got a pair of tickets to give away.

People, Delta Spirit has put out one of my favorite albums of the year with their aptly-titled Ode To Sunshine. There's a raw and vital early '60s Rolling Stones rock taste laced through those sweet bluesy piano melodies. Songs like "Strange Vine" and "Parade" flirt with the reverb-laden surf guitar of a thousand Southern California beach parties from summers long faded. There's a yearning and an excitement running through the handclaps and hearty singalong sections of this album that are the domain of the young and the hopeful.

But my favorite description of Delta Spirit might be the one that said they're "the Violent Femmes gone sepia." Although they don't scrape those same depths of streetpunk/outsider yowl that the Femmes always evoke for me, singer Matt Vasquez definitely does let all the ragged edges of his voice bleed in a very real way that keeps the album authentic. This album lovingly revives the sound of vintage America but with a rough-hewn edge, and is absolutely delightful.

Plus -- if we're gonna go on looks, I've always remembered (with a smile) the way that Amrit wrote that Vasquez looks like he unwinds between shows at The Peach Pit.

Trashcan - Delta Spirit

- One pair of tickets to Delta Spirit & Dr. Dog @ Hi-Dive (Sat. 9/27)
- Delta Spirit's Ode To Sunshine CD
- Copy of RAGGED Magazine (www.raggedmag.com)

To enter, please EMAIL ME with DELTA SPIRIT SHOW as the subject line, and I'll decide on a random winner over my coffee on Saturday morning. Because of the short notice, I'll probably call you to let you know, so please include a phone number if you're cool with that. I promise not to crank call or drunk dial you.

Ode to Sunshine is out now, seeing a wide re-release on Rounder Records, who were wise to snap these guys up.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

New contest :: Fujiya and Miyagi's knickerbocker glory

I have no idea what Brighton's Fujiya & Miyagi are enticingly chanting over their sleek electronic beats in this song, the first single from their new album Lightbulbs (out now on Deaf, Dumb & Blind Records). With a sound described as "maybe Serge Gainsbourg with a PhD in electronics backed by David Byrne’s Eno-produced scratchy guitar mixed by MF Doom," this album is effortlessly cool.


If you are confused by the lyrics but dig F&M as much as I do (or want to give em a shot) I have a prize pack for a lucky winner -- one copy of the new album Lightbulbs and a Fujiya & Miyagi tshirt.

Have at it in the comments if you'd like to win.


Side note: Pretty sure he might have gotten that shirt at Target.


The winners of the Brian Wilson contest are:
Vinyl album - jeremy v.
7" vinyl single - kouzie
CD - Jamoo

All the comments were marvelous and I very much enjoyed being transported for a bit while reading through them all. Winners, please email me with your addresses (although you are all winners in my book).

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Vedder covers Nick Cave and Trent Reznor

On August 21 Eddie Vedder began a two night stand in Chicago, part of his ongoing his solo tour (which I was fortunate to catch in Berkeley back in April). I'd heard that he covered both Nick Cave and Trent Reznor during his inventive set. Fascinating.

In honor of me planning to see Nick Cave tomorrow night with his Bad Seeds, it seemed a good time to dig up the mp3s. I love it when Eddie covers Ship Song.

Ship Song (Nick Cave cover) - Eddie Vedder [stream]
Hurt (Nine Inch Nails cover) - Eddie Vedder

10/1/08: mp3 links removed again at the request of the Ten Club.
Hmmm, starting to leave a sour taste in my mouth.

[photo credit Andrea Latina]

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Last night :: Spiritualized and N.E.R.D. (no, not together)

Last night I had high aspirations of a rare two-show/one-night venture. I went to the Fillmore to see Chester French, but they played earlier than quoted and I missed the set. I was confused when I got there and asked the older black security guard if anyone had played yet and he sniffed, "A few skinny white boys. They was good." I found this amusing, and frustrating that I didn't get to see them myself. I had time and stayed for N.E.R.D., then headed to the loud, uplifting rock-and-gospel sounds of Spiritualized. It was quite the head-swirling show.

N.E.R.D. pictures
Spiritualized pictures

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August and everything after

I had plans tonight to go see Counting Crows play Fiddlers Green in this gorgeous Indian summer twilight, and looking forward to it greatly -- but life conspired against me. This is a song I've been wanting to post for a long time, the title track from their debut album that never made it on the record, but whose lyrics can be seen scrawled all over the cover:

August and Everything After (live) - Counting Crows


Let's listen to a little Cardinology (Ryan Adams)

My friend Tom, who is awesome, went on a scavenger hunt and dug up some live versions of new Ryan Adams & The Cardinals songs that are showing up on the tracklist for Cardinology (due out October 28 on Lost Highway). I've added to it, let's have a listen! Shocking, it's a little jammy.

Born Into A Light
Go Easy
Fix It
(first single, hear it here)
Let Us Down Easy
Crossed Out Name
Natural Ghost
Sink Ships
Like Yesterday

Ryan and his Cardinals are on Letterman the day after the album is released, October 29.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Music Roundup

So I finally, finally saw No Country For Old Men this weekend (I know, right?!) and thought it was a near flawless film. As I've mentioned before, Cormac McCarthy has been one of my favorite authors from the first time I read All The Pretty Horses in high school. I've been mesmerized by his austere, profound, unadorned writing ever since.

The Coen Brothers did something extremely rare by accurately capturing the mood and tone of the book in addition to just re-telling the story. If you're even more behind than I am in this one, I won't ruin the ending -- but will say that it was one of the most perfect, piercing closing seconds to a film that I've seen in years.

This week is a busy one for me, holding 5 shows by my count. And I'll be moving into a new place downtown in a few weeks. Wish me luck -- heck, just wish that I survive. Here's what I'll be listening to amidst the madness:

The '59 Sound
The Gaslight Anthem

This song is about death come too soon, but Gaslight Anthem's sound wraps up these themes of youth and death with a defiance that burns through in their music with resistant lines like "ain't supposed to die on a Saturday night." Some say that these New Jersey fellows evoke a contemporary America in a Born to Run way, loose and raw [via]. Their song "High Lonesome" pays subtle tribute to a fantastic line from Counting Crows' first album, and I hear the urgency I love about Roger Clyne in the vocals as well. So yeah, they've got my attention. Gaslight Anthem is out on tour with Against Me, which I don't know much about but now see that they have an exclamation mark in their name - Against Me! So that might be too much excitement for me and I'll wait to check these guys out when they circle back through on the club circuit. What a show that would be -- I'd predict catharsis and the purity of rock n roll.

Oppressions Each
Brightblack Morning Light
New Mexico freakfolk collective Brightblack Morning Light is fun to read interviews with. Why? How about this gem: Singer Naybob Shineywater used to sing shows with an arrowhead in his mouth. Why? "To let his own sung words & breathe touch this stone before European ears could hear them." Naybob says, "I was not singing for war, but to engage the spirit of the maker of the arrowhead itself, to offer up Peace, that his warrior effort find a new respect, and to help my own warrior spirit sing in Peace." See? That's crazy fun right there. But no seriously -- if you're not all hippy dippy you still absolutely can and should enjoy this extraordinary song off their new album Motion to Rejoin (out tomorrow on Matador Records). It's incredible -- all thickly woven with retro sounds that sound like they are coming through a steamy bathroom, down the hall, and through a layer of feathers to your head under the pillow on a Saturday morning.

Get Yourself Home (In Search Of The Mistress Whose Kisses Are Famous)
These United States

The most recent Colorado show that Washington D.C.'s These United States played was a few weeks ago at a farm party for Labor Day out near Nimbus Road and Diagonal Highway in Niwot. I hear the two things that existed in some abundance were farmland and alcohol. This sounds like the kind of band that you could have a lot of fun with in those doses. After getting positive reviews all over the place from folks like NPR, KEXP and Morning Becomes Eclectic, These United States are releasing their sophomore album Crimes tomorrow on United Interests. There's a rustic folk charm here with a feisty and jittery thread weaving through this that would make M Ward proud.

Nice Train
The Donkeys
There's a simple aura of palatable psychedelica that vibrates through this song from San Diego's The Donkeys, along with a very basic rhyming scheme that reminds me in an odd way of "Girls" by the Beastie Boys. Don't believe me? Listen to the "how/wow/cow" sequence and tell me it doesn't echo "way/MCA/play/you may" bit. Or maybe it's just me. It's a unique blending of '60s rock with modern day heroes, and I think they also might reveal a possible love of folks like Pavement. Living On The Other Side was out a few weeks ago on Dead Oceans (Bishop Allen, Bowerbirds).

Hold It In
Jukebox The Ghost

Despite the heartfelt personal invitation from these endearing fellows who were passing out hand-drawn flyers on Saturday at Monolith to encourage people to get there early Sunday to hear their set, I failed. I wanted to, especially after listening to the ebullient pop of their album Live And Let Ghosts, and especially because they stand out from the indie crowd with that fun dash of Freddie Mercury vocal drama. Aquarium Drunkard rubs salt in the wound of my tardiness by writing that Jukebox The Ghost "set a high bar for the rest of the festival, cruising as they did through an infectious set of grandiose piano-driven pop -- for a 1:00 crowd, it was a packed and energetic room." They are on tour now across the country, ending in SF on October 18th.

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born on a black day shot through with sunlight :: Spiritualized in Denver tomorrow

I'm catching the Spiritualized show tomorrow night at the Ogden Theatre in Denver - see my previous enthusiastic write-up about their new material. I still love this song like Kate hearts Jack, she just won't admit it because of Sawyer. But me, I'll admit it -- this is a top song of my year.

Live 8/2/08 in Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom

For more content (an interview, etc) check here. They just played the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Fran this weekend and I heard a tinny snippet of their set over a cell phone; they'll probably sound better at one of their actual tour dates.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Monolith :: Sunday rocks us on so many levels

On the second day of its second year, Monolith solidified its place as a festival to be reckoned with. Also, Jesus took the stage in a glowing cloud of blue light -- oh wait, no that's Band of Horses. Close to divine.

Although the attendance this year was a ways from capacity, Monolith is still one of the better festivals I've been to recently, with its diverse lineup of acts --from hip hop to acoustic indie, cock rock to electronica-- and gorgeous Colorado scenery. Maybe it's just our mountain air but everyone seemed to be in a good mood. Each time slot had at least one band I wanted to see, usually three or sometimes four. I could live the festival through another few rounds (with permission from my liver, of course) in order to see all the acts I missed. Kudos all around this year on a solid festival well done.

If Monolith returns in '09, I still hold onto the hope that they can bribe somebody from the Dept of Parks and Wildlife or whatever, and find a way to incorporate camping on some of the rolling land stretching out around Red Rocks (what a gorgeous location, right?) to make it more of a destination festival, like Coachella. Staying six miles down the highway at the Sheraton West was nice but not quite the same.

So Sunday -- armed with Chipotle and some parking lot libations -- we rolled in for day two of the festival. After braving the unseasonably nasty elements the night before, we were pleased to see gorgeous skies again that this time stayed all day. The remnants of summer were the perfect backdrop to the sunny music of Pomegranates, the first whole set I caught on Sunday.

Pomegranates sound at once epic and approachable -- music that demands you take notice but in such a chiming, iridescent way. Over sugary flourishes, their multilayered percussion built and anticipated then crashed down in avalanches of catharsis. I loved their set. WOXY sponsored their stage, and also loves them; check a full live Lounge Act set here.

Appreciations - Pomegranates

I heard the hard-driving scowl and Southern rock of American Bang reverberating through a wall and tentatively opened the door to see who was playing. I was summarily knocked flat; theirs was one of those sets you happen upon and everyone walks out saying, "Who WAS that?!" Kings of Leon comparisons are easy (before KOL got all clean cut and pretty) with their Nashville roots, classic rock swagger, screams and skinny jeans. It's stuff to play loud from your 1970 Chevelle while you drive to get tickets for the Aerosmith show, and it was great.

The Stones - American Bang

Tokyo Police Club played at the mid-afternoon mark, and the kids from Saddle Creek seemed competent on the large stage and unrestrained in their delight. I always think I hear a smile in Dave Monks' voice on this song, and you can see it in the pictures below.

Tessellate - Tokyo Police Club

For the final song of the Avett Brothers' sundrenched set on Sunday aftenoon, bassist Bob Crawford laid aside the gorgeous baroque curves of his golden standup bass and picked up an electric guitar. As the band raged and thrashed their sweaty bodies through that final song, a sort of transliteration hit me. The electric guitar personified the same sentiment of outright rock that their whole set had spoken, but in the language of things like banjos.

Moreso than the first time I saw them a few weeks ago, this set was gutting to me. I kept finding myself riveted by a wry twist of lyric in a song that was new to me, or marvelling at how their voices blended, cooperated, and fought in the way that only brothers can. Their set caught the attention of the casual listeners and the unfamiliar -- even the gruff security guard down in the photo pit. I noticed him listening intently, and then forsaking his post to turn around and gape as they launched into "Die, Die, Die." He pressed me for all the details I knew about them and actually took notes. I think a lot of folks walked away with a desire to seek out more.

The Avetts have recently spent a few weeks in the studio with producer Rick Rubin for a new album due out in the Spring. They played one of those new songs, a sweet and simple tune called "Standing With You." When I heard it last week I was struck by the lyric, "So many nights go by like a flash, from a camera without any film" -- so much so that I typed it into my phone as a memo. Maybe I took a shine to it because I have a horrible memory. But I was pleased to find this video [via] and I ripped the tune for now (so I won't forget):

Standing With You (live at Monolith) - The Avett Brothers

With my head spinning from the Avetts, I climbed the 472 stairs to see the talent show spectacle of
Tilly And The Wall. Their set was infectiously amazing fun because they have a tap-dancer as percussionist, don't ya know. I never learned tap dance, but if I had, this is precisely the band I would want to be in.

Bessa - Tilly And The Wall

I only caught the tail end of the set from sexy London garage punk duo The Kills, but as I wedged myself into the area between the edge of the stage, some scaffolding, and various amps to try and get a few good pics while I enjoyed their sounds, Jamie Hince spotted me and directed a little bit of his rock god energy my way. Blending equal parts Bowie and PJ Harvey with that clear White Stripes energy, I was impressed.

Ura Fever - The Kills

Band of Horses was seriously meant to play a venue like Red Rocks. Along with recent groups like My Morning Jacket who have sent their majestic songs cascading through the oxygenless air to rain down upon the happy masses, Ben Bridwell's haunting high tenor sounded flawless, the band powerful in that setting.

The Funeral (live on KEXP) - Band of Horses

Airborne Toxic Event has been busy in the week since Monolith, defending their art to the soulcrushers at Pitchfork, but at the show I saw they were single-mindedly focused on bringing their songs to life. They played on one of the smallest stages Monolith had to offer and packed it in -- imagine the swells of this immense and cinematic song bouncing off the wall of red rock in that underground cubbyhole. Is it just me, or is this a great song? "You just have to see her; you know that she'll break you in two."

Sometime Around Midnight - Airborne Toxic Event

After Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip impressed the heck out of me at Coachella, I told everyone who was undecided in the late afternoon that their set was the one to see. With their intelligent and literate songcraft mixed with can't-sit-still beats, I wasn't disappointed this time either. Theirs was the single most crowded show I saw on the WOXY stage. There were two entrances into the hallway pitstop where the stage was wedged, and both doors had a line 20-30 people deep trying to get in to hear them. Deservedly so.

Thou Shalt Always Kill - Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip
(the original version, which I like better than the cut that made the album)

Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS) was in their element headlining the second stage in the gusty September wind while the tightly-packed crowd danced under the stars. They sounded fantastic and fun, although I must say that Lovefoxx kind of confused me with that fluffy thing that maybe she borrowed from Bjork. By that point in the night it is good to know that Matt Picasso and I were on the same page; he wrote about the "poofiness that defied gravity" and admitted "while I should’ve probably been focused on how great they sounded, I kept thinking 'wow, that Christmas tree thing is amazing.'" I'm so right there with you buddy. But the best thing was that watching her dance in it made me want to dance too. Which I suppose is the point.

Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex (Switch feat Mapei Mix) - Cansei De Ser Sexy

Finally, after a full day of marvelous music, French electronica duo Justice took the stage with what can only be described as massively imposing stage presence. As Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay peeked over the top of a gigantic stack of amps and blinking machines, behind their trademark glowing cross, the crowd prepared to dance. They unleashed a visceral, hedonistic crush of danceable sound (despite a few sound problems that broke up the set early on). It was a rather epic ending to an epic weekend.

DVNO - Justice

All the rest of the pics from Sunday: Part One, Part Two

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hipster poetry / makes my morning delightful / cautionary tales

O, hipster nation:
The dive bars, the vintage duds?
Great material.

Apparently a delightful new sub-genre of poetry is forming roots: the Hipster Haiku. In a traditional 5/7/5 metric scheme, one can skew the dark underbelly of indie youth culture with a pointed collection of words. Exhibits A, B, and C:

It remains so cold
In the space between my Vans
And footless leggings

Only blazer-clad
Huddled like bees, our hands hold
hand-rolled cigarettes

When the tattoos creep
Past the sleeve line to knuckles,
Time to quit retail.

Please note: an important distinction is to be drawn between the hipster haiku and the hipster sestina. Being more complex and dating back to the Renaissance poetry of Dante and Petrarch, the sestina is arguably even better (and my love of Vespas just made me laugh out loud at this bit of fantasticness):

Love in the Time of Vespas

At the old café, I like to sit and stare
At women passing by, while watching my Vespa,
Parked at the corner near the bar.
Security in this neighborhood is loose
And I sometimes worry about the thin
Chain lock that protects my ride.

I remember offering you a ride,
Just to penetrate your thousand-mile stare.
You were magnetic, so aloof and thin.
When you climbed on the back of my Vespa,
I loved how you put one arm loose
Around my waist, instead of holding the safety bar.

I took you straight to my favorite bar,
Even though you probably wanted a ride
Home. I warned you, my standards are loose.
I admitted I couldn't help but stare.
You were gracious, asked about my Vespa.
I didn't notice your patience wearing thin.

You had a pack of very French, very thin
cigarettes, and the smoke hung over the bar
like a cloud of dust in the wake of a Vespa.
When you yawned, I finally gave you a ride
home. Then I stood outside your window to stare.
I couldn't shake myself loose.

On an impulse, I pulled my scooter key loose
From its chain, and slid its thin
Promise under your door. I could imagine your stare,
Your surprise. "Meet me at the bar
tomorrow," I scrawled, "and we can go for another ride."
The next day: no you. No Vespa.

So I had to buy this new, crappier Vespa.
The law has allowed you to run loose,
Claiming there are other scooters to ride,
And the line between gift and theft is too thin.
I should tell you that you've raised the bar—
I see you now in every woman who commands my stare.

I watch you, thin and intense, ride
Your Vespa toward what was once our bar.
Your hair is loose. You avoid my stare.

BONUS: An anthem for Vespa riders (with my stab at lyrical translation in the comments); one of my favorites from my time studying abroad in Italy.

Vespa 50 Special - Lunapop

Buy Hipster Haiku here.
[thanks Ben!]

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