Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Stinkweeds, Best of 2008

Stinkweeds released their 'Best of 2008' booklet last week before Christmas. It’s always a good view of what Phoenix people are listening to. The reviewers are fairly diverse and everyone should be able to find a couple of lists they can relate to.
So ride the light rail down to stinkweeds tonight, tomorrow or this weekend and pick up a copy. I think they will have it available on PDF before too long and once it is I will let everyone know.
Here's to 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Video, Video, Video : Dr. Dog / Bon Iver

I came across this video via When You Awake, they posted it as their video of the day. Its a decent take on a Dr. Dog show. The great thing is that it is long...

I have kind of discovered posting videos on here, so you'll probably be seeing more of them.

Here is a great video I found on We All Want Some One To Shout For, a brilliant blog that is farely new but doing some great things.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Years Eve Show / Stephen Steinbrink @ Boo Berry

Stephen Steinbrink (CD Release) @ Boo Berry
December 31st (NEW YEARS EVE)
: Hell-Kite

If you haven't been to a show at Boo Berry, make sure you check out this one! 1441 Bonarden Tempe. You can also get Stephen's new CD, which I have already mentioned alot about. Teague (Foot Ox) will be there on his birthday with one of his old projects, Tradwinds. This should be an all around great show!

Here is a video of Tradewinds last show in Tempe:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Discoveries 2008

This is a list of a very special variety. If you read my previous post, you may have seen that out of the 500-some albums I got in 2008, only 200 were released in 2008. That leaves 300 other albums from various times and places. That leads me to this: my favorite discoveries of 2008:

Cat Stevens - Teaser and the Firecat (1971)
Colin Meloy - Sings Morrissey (2005)
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu (1970)
Datarock - Datarock Datarock (2005)
The Dismemberment Plan - Emergency & I (1999)
Eek-A-Mouse - Skidip (1982)
King Khan & The Shrines - What Is (2007)
The Kinks - Something Else by the Kinks (1967)
Lou Reed - Berlin (1973)
Love - Forever Changes (1967)
Luna - Bewitched (1994)
Mazzy Star - So Tonight That I Might See (1993)
Scott Walker - Tilt (1995)
Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardut - Bonnie & Clyde (1968)
Sigur Ros & Steindor Anderson - Rimur EP
Tom Waits - Big Time (1988)
X-Ray Spex - Germ-Free Adolescents (1978)

Runners Up 2008

Blog friends, it's been far too long. I have been using this holiday season that has been upon us as an excuse to post nothing. There are a few things I've wanted to post before the year is out. Here is one, watch for more.

This year, I have gotten somewhere in the range of 500 albums (Not an exaggeration). Out of the 500-something, 200 were released this year. So, how do I narrow that to 50 great albums? It was difficult, took a lot of time and deliberation. There were some albums that I feel deserve some recognition, but either I hadn't got around to listening to them in time for the cut or they were barely not good enough. So, without further ado, here are my runners up of 2008:

V/A - Stereogum presents: Enjoyed-A Tribute to Bjork's Post (Free Download here)
Antony & The Johnsons - Another World EP
Beach House - Devotion
Black Mountain - In The Future
Cadence Weapon - Afterparty Babies
Crystal stilts - Alight of Night
Delta Spirit - Ode To Sunshine
Earth - The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull
F*cked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life
Hot Chip - Made in the Dark
Lykke Li - Youth Novels
Okkervil River - The Stand-Ins
Oxford Collapse - Bits
Roots Manuva - Slime & Reason
Sanotgold - S/T
Subtle - Exiting Arm
Wale - The Mixtape About Nothing

There you have it. Pull out your headphones, cuddle up next to the fire, and let these tunes warm your soul for the rest of the cold winter.

Splinter Cake @ The Manor (Tempe), Dec 28th

Splinter Cake @ The Manor
/ Melted Cassettes
// Land Before Time

The Manor in Tempe, 8pm FREE

Splinter Cake is back in town for a couple of shows... or one rather. Should be alot of fun seeing him back in town...

Bon Iver - Blood Bank (EP) / Video

Bon Iver - Blood Bank EP

I guess Bon Iver is no secret any more... but honestly, I am glad. Though we have to wonder about the music... since For Emma, Forever Ago was written in a secluded cabin after the melt down and break up of his band Mount Vernon, weather the quality of his music will be adversly affected by success. Well, we have our first chance to see: Blood Bank will be out on Jagjagurar on January 20th... already giving us great things to look forward to! Below is a video from Montreal of the new title track.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Trunk Space Family Cookout / Lightrail Opening Party! Dec. 27th

Trunk Space Family Cookout @ Trunk Space
December 27th, 7pm...

This is the first day of the light rail and in true ginny-pig style they are letting everyone ride it for free... and to celebrate Trunk Space is putting on this fun little cookout. AND the greatest part is all the local talent and not so local.
Stephen Steinbrink
: Uggamugga
: : Zach Burba (iji)
: : : The Rigbee Martin Choir
: : : : Stellaluna
: : : : : Swordfish
: : : : : : Pamela Gallagher

Make sure you head out to this show, it should be really good. Stephen will be heading out on the road soon, so make sure you see him... Zach Burba (iji) is a lot of fun, in from Seattle. I've posted a video of his below. The whole night should just be fun.


Remember even though gas prices are low doesn't mean you can't make your cabon foot print smaller buy riding the lightrail!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Stephen Steinbrink - Ugly Unknown / Album Art / Pre Order

Stephen Steinbrink has posted a pre-order for his new album, Ugly Unknown, coming out in January. The pre-order comes with a bunch of extra cool stuff. The record will be released on James Fella's Gilgongo Records and will hit stores on late February early March, but pre-orders will be shipped out in January. Please, Please, Please buy this album... from the sound of what his has put out so far it is going to be a beautiful album.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Dutchess and The Duke - Mary (Video)

One of my favorite discoveries this last year is The Dutchess And The Duke. A brilliant duo from the Seattle area. I was happy to see them pop up here and there are on a couple of end of year lists (Seattle Subsonic, Austin Town Hall, When You Awake).

They have a lovely little video out now, lovely might be the wrong word... it might be a little disturbing at times, but is done in true DIY style.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Best Concerts of 2008

I've mentioned it a couple of people and it may be evident on my top 25 list, that I have taken a turn in my music taste to a more organic side of music. Natural sounds and songs. I say this becuase it might be in a large part associated to the live concerts I go to and the shows I find enjoyable. The list of shows I have been to over the last year is daunting even for a music man like myself. Categorizing them is even more daunting, so being in the list mood I have decided to make a list of the top 10. And it goes as follows:

Top 10 Concerts 2008

10. Frightened Rabbits (Rhythm Room)
9. Black Keys (Marquee)
8. Tokyo Police Club (The Clubhouse)
7. Born Ruffians / Plants and Animals (Modified Art)
6. Nodzzz (The Manor)
5. Dr. Dog / Delta Spirit - (Club Congress)
4. Fionn Regan - Ireland
3. The Avett Brothers - (Rhythm Room)
2. The Octopus Project (Rhythm Room)
1. Mount Eerie / Stephen Steinbrink (Modified Art)

Honorable Mentions:
Best Fwends (The Trunk Space)
Best Friends Forever (The Trunk Space)
Okkervil River (The Clubhouse)
Ra Ra Riot (Modified Art)
Titus Andronicus (Modified Art)
Alas Alak Alaska (The Trunk Space)

Top Three Acts @ Street Scene
The National
Man Man
Cold War Kids

Three Worst Acts @ Street Scene
Cat Power
Chester French

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Top 25 of 2008

I tried hard to make my own top 25 list before a lot of the major lists came out... I didn't want to be influenced by them, while at the same time understanding that some credit must be given to outside sources, such as my counter part Jeffrey. So I finished my top 25 with little help from the outside and upon conclusion and further research I discovered that I had some similarities but even more differences from other lists.

The more and more I make these lists, the more I believe much of them are based on opinion and popular view. If one album gets a low review by a popular blog/website, a lot of times it doesn't see the light of day. While on the other hand, if an album begins to be championed by a certain popular blog/website, suddenly it is all the rage. Much of this is connected to the big money machine on the internet and the desire for everyone to get a piece of the action.

Knowing this, we are left basically to opinion... and I have found it comforting that I have been able to find people with similar opinions and have been able to share music with them and them with me.

Preston's Top 25 2008

25. High Places - S/T

24. Jay Reatard - Matador Singles '08

23. Blitzen Trappen - Furr

22. Shearwater - Rook

21. The Mumler - Thickets and Stitches

20. El Guincho - Allegranza!

19. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah pt. One (4th World War)

18. So So Glos - Tourism/Terrorism

17. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

16. Vampire Weekend - S/T

15. Foot Ox - It’s Like Our Little Machine

14. Super Furry Animals - Hey Venus!

13. Fleet Foxes - Sun Giant EP

12. Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs

11. Dodos - Visiter

10. Horse Feathers - House With No Home

9. Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride

8. Frightened Rabbits - Midnight Organ Fight

7. Mount Eerie - Lost Wisdom

6. The Tallest Man on Earth - Shallow Graves

5. Delta Spirit - Ode to Sunshine

4. The Dutchess AND The Duke - She’s the Dutchess, He’s the Duke

3. French Quarter - S/T

2. Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

1. Dr Dog - Fate

Aaron Neber / Foot Ox // Bri White // James Fella /// B @ The Manor, December 16th

Aaron Neber / Foot Ox // Bri White // James Fella /// B @ The Manor
December 16th, 8p FREE

If it feels like I am really promoting shows for the local distant colony scene, your right, becuase I love their music and I think they are wonderful people. I'm not sure who Aaron Neber is... but this really should be a fun show at the Manor in Tempe. Sorry, I didn't get this out sooner but these shows are very last minute and so promotion of them is always a few days before... if not day of.

1st Annual Phoenix Winter Folk Festival @ The Modified

Folk Festival in Pheonix, FANTASTIC!
December 20th, 4pm $6

Honestly, it will be fun to see how this event unfolds... I feel like Phoenix has always been a little resitant to the folk scene. So this is a chance to really open our arms and let the FOLK in! There is one group that I am a little dissapointed isn't on the list: Try Me Bicyle is probably one of the more dynamic folk duos on the valley and they aren't on the list... I am sure there is a good reason. Here is a bit of the line up... I would image there will be more announced as the event approaches:

Sam the Boy
Asher Deaver
Courtney Maria Andrews
Owl & Penny
In Symmetry
Christopher Kevin
Zachery James Dobbs
Bradley and the Materials

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Alas Alak Alaska @ The Trunk Space (PHX) & The Hangar (TUC)


Alas Alak Alaska / Fancie / Adrian Orange @ The Trunk Space
Thursday, December 18th, 7p

This is one of my favorite band names... it just kind of roles off the tongue like Rocco pastry. This is going to be a brilliant show, there is a whole host of people, local and national, playing at this show. Here is a quick run down:
/ Foot Ox
// James Fella (its been a while since we have seen him)
/// Stephen Steinbrink
//// Khalid Melkchurch


Alas Alak Alaska / Fancie // Adrian Orange /// Stephen Steinbrink @ The Trunk Space
You can read the poster...

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Top 50 Albums of 2008

This has been a long time coming. I finished this list about a week ago and have been making slight tweaks all week, this is as good as it's going to get. Before I get to the list, I want to discuss a few things about these lists.
First, I acknowledge, and anyone reading this should also acknowledge, that these lists really come down, at some level, to arbitrary decisions. Sure there are some factors that I take in to account, but especially with a list this long, how do you decide the difference between position 36 and 37.
Now, why a list so large, when this large of a list is hard to widdle down from 170 albums (My long list) to 50 favorites. It's frankly because I believe there are some albums that deserve some amount of notoriety in a year of great music.
That being said, I do have some criteria for my list. The largest one is how often I find myself wanting to listen to the album. Foes it make it's way on to my headphones often? The next and almost as important criteria is if the artist is doing something original or creative within their genre. those are the 2 main criteria that I base my decisions on.
Now, the list:

50. Evangelicals - The Evening Descends
49. Snowman - The Horse, The Rat & The Swan
48. Abe Vigoda - Skeleton
47. Bun B - II Trill
46. The Long Blondes - "Singles"
45. Amadou & Mariam – Welcome To Mali
44. High Places - S/T & 03/07-09/07
43. The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age Of Understatement
42. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Dig Lazarus, Dig!
41. Plants & Animals - Parc Avenue
40. Love Is All - A Hundred Things to Keep Me Up At Night
39. Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed/Hold On Now, Youngster!
38. The Cool Kids - Bake Sale
37. Deerhoof - Offend Maggie
36. Blitzen Trapper - Furr
35. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
34. Air France - No Way Down
33. Deerhunter - Microcastle & Weird Era Cont.
32. Lil’ Wayne – The Carter III
31. Times New Viking - Rip It Off
30. Shugo Tokumaru - Exit
29. Marnie Stern - This is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And She Is It And This is It And That Is That
28. Spiritualized - Songs in A&E
27. Shearwater - Rook
26. F*ck Buttons - Street Horrrsing
25. Gentleman Jesse & His Men - Introducing...
24. Mount Eerie/Julie Dorian/Fred Squire - Lost Wisdom
23. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah pt. One (4th World War)
22. The Magnetic Fields - Distortion
21. The Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride
20. M83 - Saturdays=Youth
19. Vampire Weekend - S/T
18. Conor Oberst – S/T
17. TV On The Radio - Dear Science,
16. Girl Talk – Feed The Animals
15. The Tallest Man On Earth - Shallow Graves
14. The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
13. Jay Reatard - Matador Singles '08
12. The Walkmen - You & Me
11. So So Glos - Tourism/Terrorism
10. El Guincho - Allegranza!
9. Samamidon - All Is Well
8. The Dutchess & The Duke – She’s the Dutchess, He’s the Duke
7. Dodos - Visiter
6. Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
5. Fleet Foxes - S/T & Sun Giant EP
4. Department of Eagles – In Ear Park
3. Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight
2. Why? – Alopecia
1. Titus Andronicus - The Airing of Grievances

I decided not to write blurbs about each album, but I realized what I had to say was useless. If anyone really needs me to defend my choices ask me in the comments, I'd be more than happy to.


Delta Sprirt @ Solar Culture (Tucson)

Delta Spirit @ Solar Culture (Tucson)
December 16th, 8p

If you happened to see these guys open for Dr. Dog last september you know this isn't a show you want to miss... This group has amazing energy and emotion.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Buy Local Week - December 8 - 14th, 2008

In celebration of Buy Local Week, I thought I would post about some of my favorite local bands, venues and cool places to shop for music. If this were a regular blog I would also post about all the wonderful little places to by things locally in Phoenix, but its a music blog so I will stick to the music side. However, there are some wonderful little locally owned places to buy everything you would ever need to give anyone for Christmas... so where ever you are, Phoenix or other wise... DON'T GO TO WALMART FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. My grandparents ran a hardware store for basically their entire lives... and did very well until the great bastard Wal-Mart came to the area and sucked the community dry. Aw... I feel better, that is my daily vent!

Local Bands:

Distant Colony (record label)
Foot Ox
Stephen Steinbrink (French Quarter)
Bri White
Andrew Jackson Jihad
James Fella

Local Venues:

The Trunk Space
The Modified
The Rythem Room
Ruby Room

Local Places to get Music:

Revolver Records
East Coast Records

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sikhara / Clew of Theseus // James Fella /// Adam Mokan @ The Trunk Space

December 10th 7pm

This is a very experimental group of individuals... but worth pushing out. None of them get enough credit. Go the show, support local music in anyway possible! Slash, James Fella is a genius!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Stephen Steinbrink New Album / "Ugly Unknown" Out in January

Stephen Steinbrink announced last week that his new album, Ugly Unknown is going to be out in January 2009. I'm not sure if it will be released though Gilgongo Records, Distant Colony or just by Stephen himself. Really, I am just exited to see another album put out by Stephen... In September I reviewed the last album he put out under the name French Quarter, it is really a beautiful album from a talented artist. You can listen to some of the new stuff as well as some of the old stuff on his Myspace.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Preston!

Happy Birthday to the man who has made all of our lives better by pointing us in the direction of some amazing music.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yeasayer @ Rhythm Room, Nov 26th

Yeasayer @ Rhythm Room, Nov 26th
8p D, $12
Yeasayer is one of those neo-hippie groups that came a little late last year to be included on everyone’s top 10 list and so for some reason slipped through the cracks of 2007. But believe me these guys are brilliant live, they were in town last spring with Man Man at the Rhythm Room and it was a great show. Incase you are out of town for the Holidays, they will be back in town Jan with MGMT at the Rhythm Room, so plan on catching them then (and get tickets early).

Their album, All Hour Cymbals is worth getting your hands on. If you don't fall in love with it after the first listen, give it a time of tow and you will. It is somewhere between, Animal Collective and MGMT. Not trendy enough to be MGMT, but not so weird that is Animal Collective.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Deerhunter/Times New Viking 11/29

Deerhunter & Times New Viking
8:30 showtime
Modified Arts
$14 adv / $15 day of
All Ages

This is a promising show, all. Deerhunter touting their beautiful new record Microcastle. Times New Viking bringing their extreme noise pop...Be there.

Afterward their will be an after party at the Rogue Bar for those of you who are 21+ with DJ sets by Deerhunter and William F*cking Reed.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Foot Ox / Halo Fauna @ The Trunk Space, Nov 23rd

Foot Ox  / Halo Fauna @ Trunk Space
Sunday Nov 23rd 7p
Foot Ox will be opening for Halo Fauna at this show. It should be a pretty cool event. Go to trunk space  to read more details about it. I will have to miss this event this year... I am IN IRELAND!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fionn Regan - Ireland / The History of the World

I often dream about seeing bands in their home town. Having the change to see Bens Fold in a little bar in San Francisco, or catching an evening with Billy Joel playing back ground music at a bar in lower Manhattan. One of the most memorable concerts experiences I've had was seeing The Dropkick Murphy's in their home town Boston on St. Patrick’s Day.

This next week I am going to Ireland  for the first time. As I began planning the trip, the places we would go, the things we would see, the places we would eat. Once the pubs I found for us to eat at had a little bar venue upstairs... and naturally i couldn't resist. To my elation one of my favorite Irish song writer/singer, Fionn Regan, was playing the night we planned on being there!

Fionn Regan is one of those young musicians that comes a long with such an advanced out look on life. AND with the ability to put that into song. He can't be much older then mid-20s, yet he sings with the dignified age or a Ray LaMontagne or Sean Hayes.

His debut album, The History of the World, is a masterful array of song writing genius and musical beauty. The album was first released independently on 06 but was picked up by a major record label and released national July 07. Fionn produced the album himself which gives me great hope of a promising future. There is already talk of a new album and apparently he will be playing some new stuff at this special show in Limerick. History of the world starts with a simple little finger-picking number, Be Good or Be Gone. This tune seeps with the lament that comes with the distance that comes between us and the things we once knew and loved. Really Fionn is a master at crafting songs that consist of complicated finger-picking and soft memorable melodies. Though the song structure of his songs doesn't change very often, he is able to give the album a very diverse sound by changing the tempo from song to song and mid-song at times.

Possible the most alluring aspect of this album is the mature lyrical aspect, Fionn is wise beyond his years. While his musical siblings are singing about the tore and lost love in their lives, Fionn is telling touching stories about the Snow Atlas Mountains. Not that he doesn't approach the subject of love; but when he does, he approaches it with sincerity and directness, rather then whining or cueing on obsessantly.

Needless to say, I am exited to see Fionn on his home turf. The vast open road a head of me and the sky a hazy bowl above. The road, friends, live and the occasional parcel of Irish music. Ireland, here I come!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kanye West - 808's & Heartbreak

Before I'm written off as a "hater" let me preface this review by saying I love Kanye West. His last three albums have made my top 10 albums of the year.

Dear Kanye,
What happened? Did your millionaire lifestyle make you sad? The countless women? What is it? I'd be more than happy to talk this thing out with you. You can get it all out so you can go on making great rap albums.
Listen, I know your mom died. I'm sorry. That had to be rough on you. I know you two were close. Make her proud by releasing a real album, not this!
I love the concept, all 808 beats, but I could do without the heartbreak. The title is fun right? 808s & Heartbreak. I like it! Really! But the album doesn't do anything good with it, or at least very little.
That's not to say the album is all bad. I like Love Lockdown. There are a few other decent tracks too. Bad News is pretty good.
Please Kanye, PLEASE prove you haven't lost it.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Release of the Week: Anathallo - Canapy Glow

Anathallo - Canopy Glow

I've had this album for a couple of weeks and it is only going to keep growing on me. Official it comes out today. This is one of the great under rated bands right now... I'm not sure when they will get the regognition they diserve, maybe it doesn't matter; I like to think it doesn't.

One of the more defining musical experiences in my life was siging Anathallo open for The Format. Some one behind my friend and I kept talking about how horrible Anathallo was, I should prefice this by telling you that first this same person was talking about how great All American Rejects were, SICK! After listening to Anathallo and the guy behind us, Scott turned to me and said, I judge a person's musical intellegance by whether they like Anathallo or not. Canapy Glow is the perfect companion to Floating World. If you didn't catch my sisters guest review of the HERE.
Here is one place you can buy the album. Here is another place to buy it. And here is even one more.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mount Eerie @ Modified

Like a lot of things in my life, this concert review was put off and I can't remember why, I remember starting it and I thought I saved it as a draft, but nope! So here I am nearly four weeks later posting about what was probably one of the best shows I have seen this year. I'm not sure what I expected from Mount Eerie, the torn dysfunction of some of Phil's earlier stuff? The choppy sander of songs that last 15 mins. with little substance but overlayed strange sounds? I don't know, but what I got was the ragged weary breath of the road... and strangely enough it brought life.

I arrived late, and made if just in time to talk to Julie Doiron for a second before she went up with Phil and Mount Eerie. (I am assuming by now that you know that Phil Elverum is Mount Eerie) It was a simple set up, Phil on what looked like a home made guitar, nylon strings, no amp... miced. Julie and her beautiful voice, And Fred Squire, who awkwardly stared at his shoes all night, My Bloody Valentine style.

Phil introduced the band and explained that they were going to play all the songs off of Lost Wisdom (release of the week: 10/8). The randomness of the order was to be decided by two dice that they would roll before each and what ever the number, that was the song number from the album they would play.

I can't recall the song order, but it doesn't really matter. Each song was executed in exactness... and with such ease as to draw you into the lost world of Lost Wisdom. The melting pot that makes the match of Julie and Phil is a magical marriage of madness and miracles. Between each song, Phil would offer a little bit of coy banter and then the music would continue seamless and surreal. I think they could have played anything that night and it would have been beautiful...

We all set on the floor and drank the simple music of an America that is strange to most of us... and politics, work, love, loss, life were all melted into the soft sound of Mount Eerie. And we wanted not.

"Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?" - Jack Kerouac

Friday, November 14, 2008

John Thill / Andrew Jackson Jihad @ Trunk Space, Nov 16th

John Thill (blog)
Andrew Jackson Jihad
///Like Claws
The Trunk Space (there are others, just read the lovely poster they have made for the show!)
November 16th, 2008
8:00PM $7 @ D

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Little Teeth @ Trunk Place, Nov 15th

The always strange and illusive Little Teeth brings their even stranger yelp act to Trunk Space. Their debut album, Child Bearing Man, out on Absolutely Kosher (Frog Eyes, Xui Xui, The Mountain Goats) is worth checking out.

Little Teeth w/
Stephen Steinbrink/French Quarter, Foot Ox, Soft Shoulder

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Before Our Time: Seven Mary Three - Rock Crown

This was the beautiful original cover that was later changed when sales slacked

Although this album wasn’t technically speaking ‘before my time’, it was most certainly before its time. At the time of its release (1997) I was lost some where in a small town in Arizona, 98 KUTP was my only source of musical extraction and Wal-Mart was my indie music store, daunting, I know… but all the internet in my little town was dial-up and so the music I discovered was on the radio. In 1995, Seven Mary Three was on the top of the charts with Cumbersome and Waters Edge… I never bought the album American Standard for whatever reason; I am sure I recorded them from the radio and included them on a couple of mixed tapes. I offer this information not as an excuse but rather as an explanation for the significance of Rock Crown.

American Standard was you’re typical 90’s Album, grunge rock at its worst/best… It was at that place there record labels were trying to find something different in American Music, The British had Radiohead and we were still hanging on to the last breath of the dead Kurt Cobain. So the labels through some chores into the guitar, allow the band one acoustic song… don’t forget the over use of big bass overtones and WHAM! you have American Standard… in raw form a brilliant album, over produced in the studio. For the next two years, 7M3 was on the road constantly. Okay, onto the reason for this post: Rock Crown:

In 1997, 7M3 turned to a studio in the French Quarter of New Orleans to put together their sophomore effort. Nestled in the corner of such a musically diverse town Rock Crown came about. Critically, Rock Crown received mixed reviews. Commercially, it was like committing suicide. The problem with Rock Crown was that it was everything that the 90’s were not; it was pure, simple and its production was basic. The first single, Lucky, was the antithesis or Cumbersome, acoustic and melancholy. Where, Jason Ross’ raspy voice would bark out the lyrics, now it quivers under emotion meaning. In moments where his bark was needed it was used with purpose.

Each song has such a unique quality. Yet as a collective, the album is full of spirit and life; something that was missing from alot of popular 90's music. The instumentation played a huge role in the unigue sound of the album. For example, the use of timpony on the opening sound. The use of a upright piano on, Player Piano. The distant sound of a muted trumpet in, I Could Be Wrong. The mix of gretty blues slide guitar and thick distortion in, What Angry Blue? and then ending the sound with real question on everyones mind in the 90's, What angry blue, has got into you?

Jason Ross, front man and mastermind of 7M3 is a lyriclist by trade and was lost somewhere in the genre of Grunge and might have found more friends among, Sam Bean, Jose Gonzales or Sean Hayes; the folk type. And Rock Crown, might fit better somewhere on your shelf with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's - I see Darkness or Bon Iver's - For Emma, Forever Ago.

Since Rock Crown, 7M3 have continued to release albums, 7 in total the most recent landing this last Feb. I have a listened to a little bit from each album... and have not found what I had hoped. Jason Ross says himself, "While I don’t think the record remains as epic a departure [from American Standard] as I would have liked in my minds eye… many of our fans over the years have told me it remains their personal favorite…"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Foot Ox - It's Like Our Little Machine

Teague Cullen is a sort of musical protege, there are not many bands from the Tempe, Phoenix area that don't credit Teague for some aspect of their musical expression, at least the bands that are worth considering. So when Teague focuses on his own project, Foot Ox and actually puts something out, you can be sure it is something worth listening to.

There are times when I really want to compare Foot Ox to Daniel Johnston, but I have a really hard time doing that because he is so much more. Though he has much of the same recording/production style, for his age he is far superior then Daniel / not to diminish the shear brilliance of Daniel. I'm getting distracted. Like Our Little Machine, marks one of the few LP's Foot Ox has put out. Generally, he sticks to cassettes, shared Vinyl or DVRs.

This album is as disconnected from traditional production as his other work. Yet in its dysfunctional mishmash he is able to create something that far supersedes any type of music genre or sound. This album hold alot of what I call natural sounds, earth tones, if I may. Though, it is not with out music talent. The opening track Above the Ocean, has a simple but alluring cello arrangement. One of the best tracks on the album, I Am, has another brilliantly placed cello arrangement in addition to some well placed mayhem in the middle of the song just in case you'd forgotten the maddness that drives these musicians. There is plenty of wonderful keyboard and guitar spread through out this album. BUT standing above all of it is Teague's ability to dance around the maddness with perfectly placed melodies and lyrics.
Though I've never asked him, Teague wouldn't claim this band as his own. The musicians that play with him have their own little projects and collaborate with each other on nearly every effort. So we are left with a new description for a group of musicians... and in their own self proclaiming vision: Distant Colony.

And so,

In the nestles little cover of Tempe is a little colony of our own... a distant colony. Because Williamsburge is over run with musicians to hip and trendy to be anywhere else, in a scene that is already over commercialize for its own good (thanks Pitchfork) And the new frontier of Portland has little to offer these days, and Austin was too trendy before it ever had a chance. They are distant from the rest and don't give a damn.

I only have this album on vinyl and recommend it to everyone! I believe you can get it on CD HERE, just give them some time... they'll get it to you. Or honestly, just got by Distant Colony in Tempe; 1201 Wilson Street Tempe, AZ 85281

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Jeffrey's upcoming shows week of 11/9

Kink Kahn & BBQ Show 11/12 - Rhythm Room

Deerhoof - 11/13 @ The Clubhouse
Danielson - 11/16 @ Modified

Frightened Rabbit @ Rhythm Room 11-6-08

My chosen show of this week was also one of my new favorite bands of this year: Frightened Rabbit. The bill was quite crowded: 4 bands, 2 of them headliners. Knowing this, I figured I would be fine getting there at 10:30 (doors were at 8). As usual, I was running a bit late and got to the venue at 10:45. Within 5 minutes of my being there, Frightened Rabbit walked on to the stage with a hearty "We're Frightened Rabbit, we're from Scotland!" From there the band blasted straight into their set list, pulled entirely from the new album except for one choice track off of "Sing The Grays." The band was shockingly rocking. On the album they have a brilliant but marginally mellow sound. Live their show absolutely wailed. It was one of those rare shows for me where my toes were tapping, my head was banging, and my mouth was singing along the entire time. I was completely lost in their set from beginning to end. The highlight came during the first song of the encore when Scott Hutchison (lead singer) walked on to the stage with his guitar, stepped away from the microphone and had a moving sing-a-long with the crowd to album standout "Poke." The band played almost all of "Midnight Organ Fight" minus 1 or 2 songs, but held out to the last song to play everyone's favorite "Keep Yourself Warm." The set only lasted slightly over an hour, but the brevity was made up for with the bands intensity. On more than one occasion Scott stated that this was one of the best/largest crowds they've seen on this tour. It makes me sad, because the venue was small. This band deserves a larger audience, and is a rare occasion where I think they will eventually get it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Release of the week: The So So Glos - Tourism / Terrorism

The So So Glos - Tourism / Terrorism

This album offers no forgiveness for the supposed lost state of America, at least in the vision of the punk world. I try not to insert politics into my blog... and I'm not going to start now.

In the realm of the punk world The So So Glos are some where in the middle, between The Virgins (Bowery Punk) and Titus Andronicus (Jersey Punk), both of which have put out sensational albums this year. However, when talking about punk people usally don't use words like sensational. They use words like; stuff, kick ass and raw. Why is that? I mean, it hasn't always been that way... early nineties straight edgers were known for their intellectual music and lyrics. I suppose most people think of anarchists as ignorant? Which honestly, is not the case. As proof, I offer you The So So Glos from Brooklyn New York, their feverish style of crafting witty/intellectual music demands quick minds and progressive thinking.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Stephen Steinbrink / White Fang @ Tucson / Phoenix, November 5th & 6th

Stephen Steinbrink / White Fang @ 327 E Adams Tucson.
November 5th 8:30 pm

Hey Tucson... this should be a great show. Stephen was up here two nights last week. Brilliant, but most of you already know that since he has lived down there since the summer.


Stephen Steinbrink / White Fang / Foot Ox / My Feral Kin / Hell-Kite @ Cartel Coffee Lab
November 6th, night:30
But just so the phoenix area doesn't feel neglected Stephen will be here the next night! Along with White Fang, Foot Ox and... well I guess you can read.

So spread the news!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Before Our Time: Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation

Preston and I have been discussing new features add to the blog, and the first of many to come is "Before Our Time". In which we'll discuss and review albums that were released before we were old enough to appreciate them.

Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation was released when I was 4. I definitely didn't hear of it then. I was too busy rocking out to my favorite Sesame Street tracks to latch on to the latest in independent music. I first heard about Sonic Youth sometime in the late 90's when I was knee deep in what I will refer to as my "Weezer phase." I didn't give them a 2nd thought, they weren't Weezer, and had never toured with Weezer. As my musical horizons expanded I heard more and more about this band, and specifically their album Daydream Nation. Eventually in 2002, Pitchfork had announced Daydream Nation as their number one album of the 1980s (See the full list here, I generally like most of it). At that point I knew that there must be something to this album. I went out and bought it. It was a wall of noise assaulting my eardrums. I truly did not understand it.
Every year or so I would hear a band talk about the album in an interview or a friend would talk about how great it was and I would try again, to no avail. After a few years of trying the album, I gave up, sold the CD to a used record shop. Flash forward to 2007, my tastes in music were the broadest they'd ever been. I was watching a documentary on early punk rock. Thurston Moore (lead singer of Sonic Youth) was being interviewed. I can't remember what he said, but I remember thinking his views on Music seemed absolutely brilliant to me. I decided to revisit the album.
For whatever reason, It all came together in my head. I was sold. From beginning to end the album started to sound like a symphony to me. An intricate working with guitars and effect pedals and feedback and pop hooks and atonality. This, to me, was punk rock at it's finest. It pushed the limits of conventional music. It was pure gut rock, without becoming butt rock. For me, it is an album that can never be fully appreciated without a good pair of headphones, a comfortable seat, and some privacy. Since that fateful day, Daydream Nation, along with a few other choice Sonic Youth a;bums have been in heave rotation in my music collection.

Frightened Rabbit @ Stinkweeds, Nov 6th


@ The Rhythm Room
8:30p $12 adv / $13 day of
All Ages


There is a free pre-show @ Stinkweeds! it starts at 530p... get there early, stinkweeds has just a small space... which will make this show even better!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

3 Months / Facebook Group / And beyond!

Well, it has been 3 months since this little blog started. And what a great 3 months it has been... to celebrate the 3 months we have started a group on facebook 'to help you connect and share with the people in your life' and the main purpose of the group is to discuss music and mostly to share music. I won't go into any detail because we want people to join the group first, but it is AWESOME! and I try not to use that word lightly... or often. So jump on your facebook, and search our group, ...and music will set you free, don't forget the ellipse. We have open membership right now so tell your friends... it won't be open forever.

What the future holds for ...and music will set you free, to be honest with you I don't know. But with Jeffrey and I going strong, anything is possible, or nothing / GREATNESS!

But I would like to get people more involved in local musical events and local bands. Hopefully the Facebook Group will have a little to do with that. I want to help get people connected with each other, so people can go to shows together, enjoy good music together and so that more and more bands will start having more and more shows in the valley. I have a couple of ideas about how to do this and am open to ideas.

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.