Thursday, October 30, 2008

Street Scene Day Two

Young Ruffians
The National
These guys were as brilliant as I thought they would be. Clear, crisp and beautiful. Such a sutle energy.

Cold War Kids
I stumbled across the Cold War Kids a year ago when they were touring with the Southern Comfort festival. With them was Girl Talk (brilliant) and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (what happened to them?), I was there to see CYHSY and was grossly dissapointed, like I had been with their sophmore effort. So I ended up being wicked impressed with Girl Talk and loving Cold War Kids.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jay Reatard - Matador Singles '08

I figured I'd start out strong by throwing up a review my first day on the job. As you will probably pick up on pretty quickly, I have a huge soft spot in my heart for punk rock. Thus, I give you my my shining review of Jay Reatard's collection of singles for Matador records.
All the songs on this collection were released as 7" vinyl singles for Matador records throughout the year. For those who are lacking in decent independent music distributors in their area, those without record players, and those who don't have time to round up 7 random singles throughout the year, Jay has been kind enough to put them all in one easy CD or digital download.
Now, punk rock purists may give me a lot of guff for calling this a punk rock record, but it is one, deal with it. I generally have a hard time listening to much punk rock that was released beyond about 1981, but there have been a few. I prefer to steer clear of any type of revival band and generally favor creativity. Jay Reatard is both. Sure he subscribes to the punk ethos of anger, three chords, and short songs (the 13 track collection runs just shy of 35 minutes). He also, however, brings in some acoustic guitars and synthesizer...and acoustic guitars (a giant punk rock no no).
The collection starts out running with "See Saw," a rousing number that blast through the first verse with simply fun lyrics until you hit the chorus when the drums really blast out with floor times and Jay get's angry "There's really nothing to it and that is all I know!" he shouts. "Screaming Hand" keeps the pace of the album up; and just try not to smile when the pre-chorus comes in yelling "No! No! No! No! No!" The album trucks right on through until about the middle where Jay takes on Deerhunter's excellent "Flourescent Grey" (from their 2008 EP of the same name). The track takes a sound that is reminiscent of David Bowie era Iggy Pop. It's not a good sound for Jay. The album pummels through all the way to the hilariously beautiful finisher "I'm Watching You." This track brings the pace back down while Jay muses on about a lost love, and his feelings towards her now: "You see, to me, you never meant that much!" It assuredly is not a cohesive album as much as a collection of songs (that's what it is, makes sense) reminiscent of The Buzzcocks's "Singles Going Steady." It is, by far, my album of the week.

Introducing Jeffrey Benson

I'd like to introduce everyone to Jeffrey Benson, he is going to join me here on ...and music will set you free, his blog, Sound of the Suburbs has been on my 'check out these bizzles' side bar for a while now. I am lucky enough that he is going to start reviewing and posting on this blog, thus making it our blog! SO WELCOME JEFFREY! - um, at the risk of sounding overly accepting/exited, I am going to say that it is a honor to have Jeffrey here on the blog, his taste in music is flawless and his surplus of musical knowledge far supersedes mine own. However, our musical interests differ every now and then, so it will be nice to have his opinion and knowledge to contrast with mine. Like me, he has a couple of other blogs that I think are worth a look or two, or three: That's My Voice Rising , The Ultimate Jeffrey. I'll let him tell you more about himself through his posts but here is a little bio he gave me of himself: (stole his picture from his facebook with his permission!)

All growing up, I never seemed to fit in anywhere. I tried my hand at countless sports to no avail. My brother, who was 4 years older than me would occasionally bring home albums from various third wave ska and pop-punk bands. That was it for me. While I never got off on a lot of that music, It opened my eyes to a whole new world. I was taking piano lessons at the time, and my mom, to encourage me to practice, bought me an album a week if I did all my practicing. First on my list was Weezer’s Blue Album. I was 11. I was sold! Music became my life. I tried everything and anything, most of it was fairly commercial at first, but then I started to dig deeper, if just barely. The Aquabats was my first show. Another life-altering experience. Sure it was an embarrassing phase for me, the ska phase, but live music! That was happening! From there my tastes continued to grow and blossom. Fast forward today, 10+ years later; I consider myself to have a wide array of tastes. I love music from 60’s garage rock to pop-punk; americana to crunk rap. I can’t imagine my life without my music collection. I’ve listened to a lot, and played a very little. That is what I base my music criticism on.

Street Scene Day One

Finally, after a month I have some pictures from Street Scene to show off. Most of these slash all of them are not my pictures. So I must give credit to Afton Willis and Michelle Layton. I will try to review as I go with out adding too much useless information becuase lets me honest, if there are pictures why read the commentary?


Though one of my favorite moments of the weekend was during the MGMT set, these guys were not up to par. They looked, felt and sounded awkward on stage. Granted the sound at this stage was horrible... but MGMT really needs to work on their set, what might have worked in Williamsburge 2 years ago, is just not going to cut it on the festival circut.

The New Pornographers

This was a really classic TNP set, Carl Newman was his typical chatty self and the set was tight and well orchestrated, not much on the improvisational side but very good non the less.

Cat Power

This was one of the more dissappointing parts of the weekend. For Char's 45 min set the sound crew just couldn't get it right. The bass was too loud, vocals only in the monitor, guitar ear piercing. And all the while Char crawling along the stage in her ever natural quorky way.

Vampire Weekend

Let me tell you, these guys have come a long way in popularity since summer 07 at the Modified and last December at an even smaller local club. But there shows are pretty much the same, typical prep-pop/nintendo-pop show. The sing-a-long songs were adequately sung-a-long to; it would be nice to have the band agnolage that by allowing them to take over the singing a little.

The Crew

Afton, Michelle, Rachelle, Preston

Monday, October 27, 2008

Music Hysteria @ Trunk Space, Oct 29th

The band isn't actually Music Hysteria, its a discription! This is a whole mess of great young musicians. Its a good mix of local and um... not really nation acts, but people from other places.

A'cappella / Bossa Nova / Nu-Jazz

Jeffrey Lewis
Portland/New York
Indie / Folk / Garage

Desolation Wilderness
Ambient / Pop

Grunge / Grunge / Grunge

Grunge / Grunge / Grunge

Stephen Steinbrink
Visual / Grunge / Minimalist

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mount Eerie @ The Modified, Oct 28th

This could be one of the most insteresting shows you will see at the Modified this year! Don't miss it! Mount Eerie , Julie Doiron , Calm Down, It's Monday , and Stephen Steinbrink (French Quarter). There will be a lot of crazy canadians at least, and ALOT of Julie Doiron, as she is in all the bands but Stephen's.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Band of Annuals @ The Modified, CANCELLED

At long last my old friends, Band of Annuals , are coming into town. They have a new drummer, last time they were here they had no drummer (it was still an incredible show). I posted earlier in the month, What Happens in Salt Lake Stays in Salt Lake, Unforunately, all about Band of Annuals, so I won't say much here. Only that seeing them honesly had a profound effect on me.


There are alot of people on this bill, I would recommend all of them; but if you just want to see BOA, then don't come until around 10p.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Guest Review: Anathollo - Canopy Glow

I don't want to say much here because this is the guest review section but I wanted to tell you a little about my guest reviewer. Tessa Ann Smith, 'Zelbie' to me, is my sister. She has extraordinary musical taste and a very fascinating outlook on music. From her first concert, to her last she has more experience with diverse music genres then I can ever claim. I beg you to visit her blog: Make Like a Tree and Leaf , she is an amazing, inspiring artist... however, I already know most of you come visit me from her... so I am indebted her her for that. And, lastly, if I were to fall over dead I would trust her with this blog above all others. So with no further a due. Zelbie:

It is not often but when musical genius meets up with the right person at the right time who is ready for it, it can work miracles in a persons life. Anathallo is a group of seven talented musicians that creates mini musical miracles every time they pick up their instruments to play, and every time you listen.

In the summer before my 16th birthday and Junior year of high school I was just starting to leave my teen angst tainted punk phase and move on to greener musical pastures with the help of my brother Preston and other enlightened friends. I went up to Phoenix to see a Format concert with my brother. The show was at the Celebrity Theatre which was a round dome like venue with the stage in the middle that rotated. We got there early so we could get decent seats. A little while after we got there a band started to set up. There were a lot of people on stage and they kept loading on more and more instruments. We watched in wonder and vocally queried about how a band could use that many instruments, or need that many instruments, or that much crew. Then with the seven people who we thought were mostly crew on stage the lights when out and Anathallo began their set. I don't recall what song they began with or what song they ended with but I can still tell you exactly how it felt to hear them play. The music was so unique and beautiful and interesting not just to hear but to see. In the middle of songs they would move on to new instruments or switch with another band members even suddenly fall on the floor and then consequently get back up again and keep playing. It was an amazing experience. Since then with the help of Preston we have acquired all their albums and EP's and I listen to them often. I find myself now when I judge music or concerts I tend to compare them to the experience I had that hot July day in Arizona. This last summer I got the chance to see Anathallo again with my brother on another hot summer night. It was a smaller place and it was again moving and wonderful. At that show they played a lot of stuff from their new album Canopy Glow. I have now has the opportunity to listen to Canopy Glow in its entirety!

Let me just say that Canopy Glow is a necessity for anyone's music collection. I fell in love with Italo, The River, and All the First Pages instantly! All the First Pages is an incredibly moving song with its constantly changing tempo's and rhythms and deep lyrics, I find myself swallowed up in the blue and green whenever I listen to it, whatever that may mean. The first thing I noticed about this album compared to the first album Floating World was the mellow song titles. You may not think that Noni's Field, Italo, and John J. Audubon are nomal song titles but compared with Hanasakajiijii, Gennessarette and Dokkoise House they are as normal as can be. This album also seems to be a bit more easy on the ears. The interesting backup vocals are still there in a number of different ways the squealing is kept to a minimum which of course is a positive and negative thing for me, I am a sucker for a bit of squealing The album seems to work very well as a whole. Each singular song is great but only when you put them together do you see the true beauty. I am not qualified to say that it is musically wonderful, although it does seem to be rather musically stellar with the vast array of instruments having their say in all the right places. I also think the vocals are excellent they really took advantage I can however tell you that the music on this album has changed me, it may just be a little bit, but I am a different person for having heard it and i change a little more every time I listen. Experience your own mini musical miracle and listen to this album and Anathallo!

Track List:

01) Noni's Field
02) Italo
03) Northern Lights
04) The River
05) Cafetorium
06) Sleeping Torpor
07) All the First Pages
08) John J. Audubon
09) Bells
10) Tower of Babel

By: Zelbie

This album doesn't hit stores until November 18th: Preorder it Here

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Best Fwends Great Vice

Just wanted to give you guys a heads up on one of the groups that came through here at the beginning of September; Best Fwends out of Austin/Fort Worth TX. Yuppie hipster magazine Vice dubbed Best Fwends debut album, Alphabetically Arranged, the worst of the Month (September). I couldn’t have been more happy! Vice (yes, I will send you to the magazine) is one of those magazines that think they are so far a head of the scene that they end up being behind it. Everything is, “Oh that’s so last month”, or “I wish these guys would die with everyone else that sucked in the 90’s” blah blah blah…

I actually like Vice Magazine and their website. They review a lot of great music… if they say it sucks, I look up the group and with out fail I like them! If they say that it’s great, usually it sucks. Case in point; their album of the month (October): R. Kelly - 12 Play: Fourth Quarter brought to you by none other then Jive Records. While the album is good, it is nothing new, inventive or really creative. I might have sampled 1000 R & B records from the 90’s and made this album with garage band.

Back to Best Fwends… they have a long way to go before they put on a really great show or album for that matter. But they didn’t get to where they are today by being the worst. And hell, if Vice would stop taking themselves so serious they might actually start enjoying music for what it is rather then what it is not.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bishop Allen / New Album / Tour / Phoenix, Maybe?

I just got an email from Bishop Allen (the mass sort) today updating everyone on their new album and upcoming tour. Here is what they had to say:

Hey everyone!

This is just a quick email to let you know we're about to go on a U.S. Tour, playing new songs from our upcoming record. We're almost done with it (working title: Grrr...) and it's awesome. It'll be out in mid-February on Dead Oceans.

Actually, I'm in the mixing studio right now, trying to distract myself from my own backing vocals on loop. Anyhow, there are many sweet jams about to be coming your way. Fair warning.

Info on the whole tour, with links to tickets, is here:
Bishop Allen

And here's a list of shows:

Nov 1 // Washington D.C. @ the Black Cat

Nov 2 // Chapel Hill @ Local 506

Nov 5 // Norman @ The Opolis

Nov 7 // Denton @ Hailey's

Nov 8 // Austin @ Fun Fun Fun Fest

Nov 10 // La Jolla / UCSD @ The Loft

Nov 11 // Los Angeles @ The Echo

Nov 12 // San Francisco @ The Independent

Nov 14 // Salt Lake City @ Kilby Court

Nov 15 // Denver @ Hi-Dive

Nov 16 // Ames, IA @ M Shop <

Nov 17 // Chicago @ Subterranean

Nov 18 // Bloomington @ Bear's Place Nov 19 // Gambier, OH @ Horn's Gallery // free

Nov 20 // Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Downstairs

Nov 21 // Swarthmore @ Olde Club

Nov 22 // Brooklyn @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg
Tickets// 18+

Nov 23 // Brooklyn @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg
Tickets// 16+

See you guys soon.
We're really excited about this tour and the new record. We will always be,

Your band,

Bishop Allen

First off... YAY for the new album!
Second, if you scanned the tour dates you noticed that there are no plans to come to phoenix. But if you looked close enough you saw something that might have given you hope. Between Austin Nov 8th and La Jolla (San Diego) Nov 9th there is one day. What else is between Austin and La Jolla? Oh yeah! Phoenix! I have subsequently send the following email to Bishop Allen:

You should stop in pheonix on the 9th betweet Austin and La Jolla, you can stay at my house... all of you! and you can play at modified art ( as there is nothing there on the 9th! Just an idea...
: ),
that being said, I'm really exited for the new album! You'd mentioned at one of the shows that you might put out an EP this fall? Just checking...

Thanks for the great music and shows!


I then sent the following message to the Modified:


Thought I would give you guys a little heads up, Bishop Allen is touring next month and will be in Austin on Nov 8th and San Diego on Nov 10th. I thought they might be a nice fit at the Modified on the 9th? I checked your schedule and there was nothing there at that time... Anyway, thought I might let you guys know:

Thanks for bring great music and art to the Valley!

Preston Smith

I am really exited about the new Bishop Allen album. For those of you who read my sister's blog she posted a wonderful review of the movie Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist and the sound track. Bishop Allen played a significant role in the movie and the soundtrack.

I would say that Bishop Allen is an up and coming back, but I believe they are already there.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Release of the Week: Hospital Ships - Oh, Ramona

Hospital Ships - Oh, Ramona

Projects, Project, Projects everywhere. It seems like that is really one of the themes within the ever evolving indie scene, if you can refer to it as indie any more, really it is some convoluted pale reminder that there use to be music that wasn't driven by a record label, thus independent (indie) from anyone. Those people still exist, but not with in the genre that is considered indie (we can thank pitchfork for that). I'm venting, sorry. Minus Story's Jordan Geiger, has a new project and its name is Hospital Ships. If you don't know Jordan from Minus Story, maybe you know him from Shearwater, the former side project turned main project of Jonathan Meiburg of Okkervil River. Deep breath... ... hopefully you're following me. It seems that jumping from one project to another until something really sticks is a good idea but at some expense to each little project, I feel like some people are treating each of their projects like Ryan Adam treats each of his albums; he/they just can't wait to get to the next thing.

So why would I include this album on my Release of the Week? Because it is a damn good album. Jordan's work with Minus Story and Shearwater are both present on this album.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Chinese Stars @ Trunk Space, Tonight!

This is one of those truely rare shows that you'll be kicking youself for ages if you don't go!
Chinese Stars @ The Trunk Space
7:00 PM
w/ El Paso Hot Botton, Get Down To Brass Tacks, Fathers Day

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Folktales and Folk Tales

Folktale is a record distributor that I have come to really admire for a couple of reasons. One, they distribute a couple of really great local bands that I have spoken highly of; Foot Ox, Uggamugga, Stellaluna and of course Bri White. Two, in the mist of a electronic musical revolution, Folktale is distributing, vinyl, cassettes, and CD-R. Lastly, nearly all the music they distribute is progressive, inventive and great!

All of the musicians and labels they work with are in the DYI scene, struggling around the country with Help Book schedules, or not even venturing past the confines of their own community. These are the true champagne's of the DIY scene, not MGMT and their pop music disguised under the genre of neo-hippie.

Just yesterday I got Whitman's LP White Sunrise. It was one of the more interesting music purchases I've made in my life. The art of the record was drawn on the inside of another record, Westside Story, a record I actually own. Included in the package was a CD-R of the album, a booklet and a little peice of cloth with the Whitman written on it. Ofcourse this display matches the music of Whitman to a T.

I'm not saying the music distributed by Folktale is for everyone. Not everyone will appreciate it, but at least its something that should be considered.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Born Ruffian @ The Modified / Wild Sweet Onion @ Stinkweeds

Born Ruffians' is one of the funest trios touring on the small stage circuit right now. And the fellow Canadian group will be with them!

8:00 PM $12.00


Wild Sweet Orange @ Stinkweeds
8:00 PM $5.00

Sorry to get these out to you so late, but I haven't been going to an many shows lately and so am a little behind on that aspect.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Here are a couple of groups that I am enjoying right now. As usual the list gets more and more adventures towards the bottom, so those of you who are a little more on the wild side go straight to the bottom. If your more conservative start with Drive-By Truckers... you'll fall in love with them as I have!

Drive-By Truckers
Athens, Georgia
Genre: Indie / Southern Rock
Why? Booking a co-headlining tour with The Hold Steady is nothing to joke about. These guys have been around long enough that everyone should give them a listen.
A Ghost To Most-Video

Copenhagen, Denmark
Genre: Alternative / Rock / Folk
Why? They have a great appearance at SXSW this last year and just put out a fantasic EP! Arcade Fire meets

High Places
Brooklyn, NY
Genre: Surf / Hardcore / Trance
Why? I feel like I always need to have a token Brooklyn/Williamsburge group here. These guys were in town a couple of weeks ago and put on a great show. Please watch the video that they use to discribe what their music sounds like!

Olympia, WA
Genre: A'cappella / Bossa Nova
Why? This cool little group just released another album, "Oh, the Places We’ll Go" - to coin Dr Seuss.

Little Teeth
San Francisco, California
Genre: Melodramatic Popular Song
Why? Absolute Kosher doesn't miss often. And they aren't missing here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Release of the Week: The Decemberists - Always the Bridesmaid: A Singles Series Vol 1

If anything this weeks release means that The Decemberists are working again. After their 2006 release, Crane Wife, the band vowed to take a break... and last summer when they cancelled a tour because one of the members had a "sickness" that needed to be taken care of, I think a lot of us feared we would never see another Decemberists album. We were pacified slightly with the Colin Meloy sing along album... but only barely. Then in Aug they announced that they were going to release a series of singles albums... of which Always the Bridesmaid: A Singles Series Vol 1 is the first.

Colin has said in the past that Crane Wife was more of a production then The Decemberists are use to and that on the next album they would tone it down and go back to their roots a little more. These first two singles are true to that, while they still hold a little bit of Crane Wife.

So while there might be a couple of other albums out there that I can recommend this week, I'm going to stick to this one because it marks the being of a new Decemberists Album!

Vol 2 is due out Nov 4th and Vol 3 is due out Dec 2.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vespa Music

There are thousands of reasons to love the fall or Autumn (depending on what type or poetry you're writing). Of those reason there are a couple that are particularly favorite to me. One, I love the cooler weather. Two, I get to ride AMY (my vespa). Yesterday I cleaned off Amy and took my first fall ride. Which brings me to the music aspect of Amy. There are certain songs that are better to listen to on Amy. When I bought Amy 3 years ago, I bought an ipod because I needed to have some means of listeneing to music. So these are Vespa Songs:

Kissing the Lipless - The Shins

Amsterdam - Guster

Gravity Rides Everything - Modest Mouse

Lets Get It On - Marvin Gaye

Have You Been Making Out O.K. - Al Green

Rebellion (Lies) - Arcade Fire

Steve's Last Night in Town - Bens Fold Five

Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen

Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset - Modest Mouse

Custom Concern - Modest Mouse

Harmonium - Rogue Wave

Just to name a few!

Out in front of Fresh & Easy

BIG PRESTON, little mindi!

Amy and I

Mindi says I look to cool for school in this picture... she's right. And I am, HA!