Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The last time I saw these Los Angelinos live, they were seriously stealing The Dandy Warhol's psych-addled thunder at the 9:30 Club. While they certainly did well on such a large stage, I'd been dying to see them somewhere like DC9, all up close and personal like. I knew it would be special, and lo and behold, I was right. It's a miracle the five of them and all their gear fit on the stage, but despite the cramped quarters it was rock'n'roll from the word go. They overcame some initial soundboard difficulties and played a solid, saucy little set. It felt much more rock, somehow, than my first Darker My Love experience. Perhaps it was the lack of that wacky gooey projection or something, but the slightly more stripped-down sound was incredible, and really demonstrated how great a band this really is. Sure, they left "Two Ways Out" off the setlist, but I'll forgive them. The set was heavy with new songs, heightening expectations for a quick release (please?) of even more retrodelica. Happily, a couple songs from their debut made it onto the setlist, too. Sometimes you have to see a band live to really appreciate the sounds they make, and a live Darker My Love show proves just how gifted these guys are as musicians. They are simply compelling live, and command your attention. Which, of course, you'll readily oblige them with.
All in all, I left DC9 feeling totally impressed by the entire show, but especially by Darker My Love. This is a band that not only can wow you on record, but also knows how to put on a live show.
Setlist above written out by DMLer Will Canzoneri, who has so much musical knowledge it will knock your socks off. "Talking Words" is below for your enjoyment. And believe you me, you will enjoy it. For all you Euro kids out there, make sure you keep a close eye on DML, as they are on your side of the Atlantic as we speak.
mp3: Talking Words (Buy: Darker My Love)
For instance, earlier this year the band happened to put out on a record, Checkmate Savage, on the most excellent label Chemikal Underground (home to various other excellent bands of the past and current day such as Arab Strap, Mogwai, and Sluts of Trust). As a general point of reference, I like to think of The Phantom Band as being a sort of British Sea Power with a brogue, adding a little bith more northerly darkness to an already heavy and intellectual brand of music. I for one would maim to see those two bands share a stage (BSP + TPB = Happy Megan).
But what makes the record so good, you might ask? The easy answer is everything, of course, but I'll expand a little. As with British Sea Power, The Phantom Band just exudes more intelligence than most bands out there. Clinic, too, shares this smartypants, highly-educated and infinitely quirky sound. Looking at the album cover, it makes me think that maybe there's some deep symbolism behind the Shaker chairs and upside down doorways. Perhaps it's the unconventional lyrics that go well beyond the lovelorn moping or angst of many a band. And, of course, they've got fantastic lyrics. "Leave my spirit/cuz lust and sin/is all that I want" might just be my new (unofficial) motto. The first song on the album, "The Howling," the song from whence the aforementioned lyric comes, was my introduction to the album. When I first heard it, I stopped what I was doing and just sat still. It's such a curious song, layered with unexpected sounds and ghostly choruses and driven by a very distinct, powerful voice. It's just over six minutes long and it feels like an odyssey, so much musical ground does it cover. So too can be said of the entire album. It's a mish-mash of so much that it nearly bursts at the seams. My absolute favorite track on the album is "Halfhound, " posted below for your listening pleasure (you're welcome). It's several songs in one, as with just about every song on Checkmate Savage. I love the taut riff that serves as the spine of parts of the song, bordering as it does on sounding slightly sinister. But damned if I don't adore each and every one of the nine songs on this disc. Another one to pay close personal attention to is "Island," a slower, gentler (longer) number than most of the others. But again, this is a fantastic record. Buy it now.
If the above hadn't already convinced you of the fact, you can consider it a safe bet that Checkmate Savage will be in my top ten albums of this great year 2009. Give it a few listens, and it just might make its way into yours.
mp3: Halfhound (Buy: The Phantom Band)
Ed. Note--It's been brought to my attention there's a problem w/ the remix track below, and I'm afraid I don't know how to fix it. Hence, it has been removed, but I'm too lazy to go back and re-write the existing paragraph. Sorry about that.
While there are individual reasons for each "It's Covered" post, the one overarching theme seems to be songs from my early childhood, most notably those found in various cartoons. It is with this in mind that I bring today's offering, "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?" or, as I like to refer to it, "that song from Tom & Jerry."
"Is You Is" probably the first song I ever enjoyed specifically as a cover. When I first heard it outside of the T&J classic, I loved it for being a variation on a theme. Long story short, while I was raised on Joe Cocker and others who made entire careers out of cover songs, this was the first "cover tune" I appreciated for being itself.
Originally released as a B-side to "G.I. Jive" by Louis Jordan in 1944, the song enjoyed its own success before eventually being covered by everyone from B.B. King to Saffire, the Uppity Blues Women.
Today's versions include Louis' original, as well as takes by Bing Crosby & the Andrew Sisters (please pardon the few glitches; it's an OLD track) and Cab Calloway (for the criminally under-educated musically, that old dude in The Blues Brothers). To keep things interesting, we've also got Dinah Washington's original stab, as well as the Rae & Christian Remix of the same piece from the wonderful Verve Remixed series.
And, of course, the version that got this whole ball of wax started in the first place from Solid Serenade.
mp3: Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby (Louis Jordan)
mp3: Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby (Bing Crosby & the Andrew Sisters)
mp3: Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby (Cab Calloway)
mp3: Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby (Dinah Washington)
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sadly, add drummer Jerry (Gerhardt) Fuchs, member of !!!, The Juan McLean, LCD Soundsystem and Maserati to name a few to this tragic list. According to multiple reports, Fuchs was killed early Sunday morning in the elevator shaft of a building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he was attending a benefit party. He and a friend got stuck in an elevator, and tried to jump to the landing, which is where things went horribly wrong. Fuchs' jacket got stuck, and instead of leaping to safety, he fell down the shaft, and was pronounced dead soon after. He was 34.
I'm just so saddened by this. It breaks my heart to hear about such tragic accidents. Fuchs will be missed by many. Rest in peace, dear sir.
Longtime readers have long heard me rant rhapsodic on how great I think the Berkley Place blog is, but let's be serious for a second here. Chief muckety muck Ekko put together a zombie mix of his own. Did anyone on the planet really think he or she had the ability to compete against this one? Apparently Ekko did, and, of course, ours is far, far superior. Except maybe for this one song they posted, quite possibly the greatest inner-office memo on zombies ever set to music. Damn that bastard for beating me to the punch there. Guess what, though? Now it's in my mix, too, so I clearly continue to win.
As was pointed out in the comments section of the first part of the Zombie Mix Triumvirate, this was kind of a glaring omission. Well, problem solved now.
The problem with zombie music in general is that it tends to fall into either the death metal or techno categories. Since this is the greatest zombie mix you will ever hear, however, I've avoided those pitfalls and bring to you the finest nut meat from the finest genres worldwide. This would be zombie music if zombie music were written by a Santana cover band.
Did someone ask for some ever so slightly hardcore zombie psychobilly? Well, tough shit, 'cuz that's what you're getting here regardless.
A. You wanted some actual early punk on this thing. B. The name "The Dickies" is funny to me.
Remember how I mentioned I was scouring the world for the finest and sometimes most obscure zombie music I could find? That's probably because I never said it, but still, if you wanted Latin electro dance hall music about the Undead, I've got your back right here.
I'm not entirely sure what accent she's using here, but it's close enough to We Were Promised Jetpacks to make me smile and that's good enough for this mix. I fucking love the Scots.
For some reason, this reminds me of Ca Plane Pour Moi, otherwise known as the tune in European Vacation when the Griswolds are checking out the museum. See the aforementioned comment about the complete arbitrariness of my mix. And yet never, NEVER, question the fact that it is, in fact, the greatest one about zombies you will ever hear.
This is just a cover of the Cranberries tune, so I'm not entirely sure where the "13" comes into play, but anyone who gives away zombie goodies for free on their website definitely is going to get some love from me. It may or may not be of the goat variety, but you understand what I'm saying. Oh, and I really dig the cover art. Reminds me of this stuff, the collecting of which is one of my latest hobbies. And since guys missing half a kidney and on blood thinners apparently aren't encouraged to play hockey, I'm looking for all the new hobbies I can get.
And now you're going to realize just why this is the greatest zombie mix you will ever hear. I'm putting together musical suites for you here, bitches. Multiple songs about undead ETs. That's right, there were multiple songs about them out there, and I found them for you. Think about it, did either of your parents ever show you that kind of devotion? Of course not. Kneel before Zod, peeps. You dig what I'm saying.
Yes, I did put together a zombie rape suite. More distrubing than that should be the fact that there are a minimum of two bands out there that had a meeting wherein everyone agreed that these were good ideas for songs.
It's Zappa, dude. 'Nuff said.
Take a second and put your hand on the back of your head. Feel that hole there? Sorry about that, but that's where I just fucking blew your mind with a fucking KUNG-FU ZOMBIE SUITE. Alright, a track by Karate High School and one called Iron Zombie probably are pushing things, but you get the point. And I feel obligated to mention that the Sabbat here is the Japanese death metal band, not the English thrash band. And now you know, half the battle, etc.
Kind of hard to argue with logic like that.
I think we can all agree it simply was time for a bit of lo-fi.
Who else is going to end the first part of an update for the greatest zombie mix you will ever hear with a track by motherfucking Raffi but me? Nobody. Not even your grandfather. And that's why the mixtape title says it all, really.
While you're absorbing all the above, make sure to take deep breaths and drugs when necessary to try to keep your place in the universe intact. Don't say you haven't been warned throughout the entire process about just how damn good this thing was going to be.
And there's more to follow, so try not to let your heart explode or anything whilst you wait. Since I'm back in the saddle at least for the time being, expect my posts to get back to their near daily dosage, too.
Monday, November 2, 2009
The Sumner Brothers, Brian and Bob, along with their friends Michael and Mike, sound like remnants of a time long since turned to dust, a sepia-hued time when music was simple and soulful and made by friends gathered in whatever space they could find, and not touched by computer enhancements and fancy effect pedals and studio magic. Not only that, but the foursome sounds like they should be sitting on the front porch of an ancient, rickety wooden farmouse nestled in the spectacular, magical valleys of the Shenandoah Mountains in Virginia. If you've never been there, well, it's the perfect place for a band like the Sumner Brothers. There's a hint of fall to their songs, traces of burning fires in the hearth, and a stark, austere beauty the likes of which you won't hear very often. The Sumner Brothers are as precious and rare as can be, so dang good you almost can't believe it.
The band is working their way through a small West Coast tour, so all you Washington Staters and British Columbians, get yourselves to these shows. More details on the band's Myspace page, naturally.
mp3: Pain (Buy: The Sumner Brothers)
After ambling onstage, singer/guitarist/nice guy Kip opens with the greeting "Hey, what's up, we gonna fall in love tonight?" before launching into "This Love is Fucking Right!" The song set the tone for the evening, pulsating powerpop with less of an emphasis on fuzz and feedback than you'll hear on POBPAH records. In my notes I wrote "so so cute this band is," and it's just so true. They're so, dare I say, pure. They seem to just emit kittens and hearts and flowers wherever they go. "It's great to be back in DC," they opine, and DC seems to agree with this sentiment. Everyone is either bobbing their head, tapping their leg, or just flat out making out with their neighbor.
Songs that I already loved, like "The Tenure Itch" and "Stay Alive," sound crisp and clear, minus the fuzz the utter poppiness really shines through. Sweetly feisty, the band powers through song after song, like the jingle jangle of "Teenager in Love." Quite simply, and pardon me if I've said this before, but it's music to pinch cheeks to. And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. This band is a ray of sunshine, that's for damn sure. Happily, the encore includes "Gentle Sons," quite possibly my favorite of all POBPAH songs. Sweet, sweet heaven do I love this song. When it's all said and done, I feel quite confident being able to state as fact that The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are a sensational live band, and that you should absolutely, definitely, positively go and see them live whenever possible.
mp3: Gentle Sons (Buy: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart)