Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Release of the Week: Cold War Kids - Loyalty To Loyalty

Cold War Kids - Loyalty To Loyalty

Okay, so no surprise here. I saw CWK at Street Scene last weekend, they did a 40 min set and all but 4 songs were from the new album. It was pretty impressive to see them hold the audience with the new material. Like Robbers & Cowards, this album might take a while for most of you to really enjoy it. The same blues howl and edgy guitar is there. The music is a little more scattered then Robbers & Cowards, but then again that might only be because I need to give it a couple of more listens.

One thing I live about this album is the tempo, they seems to have slowed it down just a little bit. Besides, Something is not right with me, there are no stand out, punch you in the gut hits, but conceptually this album flows a little better then Robbers & Cowards.

If you get a chance over the next couple of months to see these guys, I recommend you do. Hopefully they will still play some smaller venues.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Phoenix Concerts 9/22 - 9/29

Street Scene was incredible! I am hoping to have a full report with pictures and everything by the end of the week.

Once again, visit Silver Platter for all the concert listing this coming week: but here are a couple I'd recommend. I'm not sure about any of the Distant Colony local shows, but if I hear of any mid week, I'll let you know.
My Morning Jacket @ Marquee Theatre
The New Year @ Modified Arts

Vampire Weekend @ Marquee Theatre

Okkervil River/Sea Wolf @ The Clubhouse

Ra Ra Riot @ Modified Arts

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Good, The Bad & the Ugly

You'll have to forgive me for having no pictures, I've been having a gross amount of computer problems... and I have been super busy. By the time this is posted I will be on my way to San Diego. I meant to post about the Dr. Dog concert and will try to next week. At any rate, there are some great groups below!

John Thill
Genre: Indie Pop
Los Angeles, CA
Why? He is one of the tightest in the tape revolution. Great songs about significant stuff, and insifnificant stuff.

Genre: Soul / Rock
San Antonio, TX
Why? I asked Rene the singer/bass player what his biggest influence was; you'd think I would have asked him the meaning of life! He went on and on about the Zombies, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and other late 50's groups. Thats why!

Genre: Experimental / Pop
Heaven, CA
Why? His latest album (White Sunrise) has taken him 5 years to finish and is a self proclaimed master piece... and it is! you can only get it through his myspace, at shows and at his record labels website. Find it, please!

Anni Rossi
Genre: Italian Pop / Freestyle
Chicago, IL
Why? A little pop... even Italian Pop, not the italian soda, but pop, can go a long way!

Stephen Steinbrink / French Quarter
Genre: Folk / Broke
Tucson, AZ
Why? If his self titles LP is not in my top 10 this year, it will at least be in the top 25.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Street Scene Festival

Actual Downtown Street Scene in San Deigo
I'm leaving tomorrow for the Street Scene festival in San Diego; before I head over there I thought I would give you a run down of the plan.

First off, going on this wild adventure is, Michelle (Hotel), Afton (Ring Leader) Rachelle (The Rookie) and me (Free Spirit). We are leaving Friday morning at 6:15am sharp; we have no place to stay… I was exited about the prospect of sleeping in a park, but "Hotel" made it quite clear that she was not sleeping outside. She then put herself in charge of finding us all a grungy hotel; which I informed her was sure to be more frightening then the park I might locate for us to sleep in.

This might be an interesting moment to say I have a small habit of sleeping in parks; Central Park, Hyde Park and the park across from my hotel in Orlando… just to name a few. I say this is an interesting time because my mom is in Utah and will more then likely not be checking my blog and will miss this post and will subsequently not be angry with my hobo living. Ah the relief from getting this one off my chest… … … Back to the plan: here is the basic run down of who we are going to see.

Chester French
The New Pornographers
Vampire Weekend

West Indian Girl
Cold War Kids
Tokyo Police Club
Tegan & Sara
The National
Man Man

The groups I am really looking forward to are highlighted. I'll be sure to give a full report after the weekend with pictures and everything.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Release of the Week: Foot Ox - It's Like Our Little Machine

Foot Ox - It's Like Our Little Machine
The release for this week comes to you only in CD-R form and can only be purchased at shows and on the myspace of Foot Ox, or Distant Colony. I have been meaning to post a long explanation of Foot Ox and Distant Colony but have been tied up with other things. So I will get around to it soon, for now this will have to suffice.

It may be said at some future date that the most influential music to come out of the phoenix metro area was brought forward by Teague Cullen and his band of Gypsy's. Band of Gypsy's being his group of friends, not a reference to Jimi Hendrix. Teague plays under the stage name Foot Ox but is a member of or collaborates with dozens of projects in the Tempe area.

Hailing a style of his own, Teague is imaginative with his sounds and creative with his production; expect the unexpected. If I were forces to place a name on his type of music, it might be Daniel Johnsonisc... but what ever you want to label it... its damn good and the beauty is I don't think Teague cares if you like it, he just enjoys making music with his friends.

I'm not 100 % positive when this album came/comes out but the LP release party is tonight at the Trunk Space, with Whitman and Splinter Cake.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Phoenix Concerts 9/15 - 9/22

I have decided to change the format of this weekly post. I'm doing this for a couple of reasons: One, there is a great website ran by Stinkweeds called Silverplatter that give the most comprehensive list of concerts in the Phoenix area. Most of the shows that I post are on there. Second, I'd really like to focus my weekly concert post on shows that are not promoted on a large scale bases. Bands who are in the DIY scene, touring under the blanket of "Help Book" and local bands that are showing promise. Lastly, I'd like to spend more time reviewing and introducing more new music.

Silverplatter list almost every show in the valley, so there can be a lot of crap mingled in there with the good stuff... so I will do my best to filter some of the best shows.

Foot Ox / Splinter Cake / Whitman @ Trunk Space (Tue Sept 16th @ 8p / $5)
You're never sure who will play at these shows, but this is who is listed.

Dr. Dog / Delta Spirit @ Club Congress (Tue Sept 16 Tucson d @ 8p / adv $10.00, $12.00 @ d)

Harlequin Babies / No Movement @ The Manor (Wed Sept 17th @ 8p / Free)
The Manor can be hard to find, so here is the address: 832 S. Maple Ave, Tempe AZ 85281

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vampire Weekend - S/T

Vampire Weekend comes from a widening genre I like to refer to as Nintendo Punk or Pop; they refer to their genre as Upper West Side Soweto. Their quick-witted songs with catchy melodies and riff driven keyboard elements give them a distinct sound. The 4 piece hails from New York City, but have a slight surfer punk edge to their music, most noticeably in the guitar riffs.

A couple of the songs ("A-punk," "Mansard Roof," "Oxford Comma," "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa") have been released previously. The album starts with "Mansard Roof," the bands first single; the song starts with the staccato rhythm of keyboard and drum. Soon a soothing keyboard riff sails over the top of a catchy drum beat. The next song, "Oxford Comma," contains a generation defining statement: Who gives a fuck about an oxford comma. The song screams from the bowels of a generation of brilliant youth who are tired of being held up to someone else’s expectations. Next, "A-punk" is a wonderful little song with a driving bass line and haunting keyboard riff during the chorus. It's what I imagine we would hear if the Ramones and the Beach Boys got together. "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" is my personal favorite song off the album. The song is vibrant and cool. The anticipation for the chorus is almost so contagious that you can’t help but scream, “IS YOUR BED MADE! IS YOUR SWEATER ON!” The bridge is a tangled mesh of keyboard, drums, bass and melodic vocals that some how works wonderfully for this Upper West Side Soweto group.

I’m not going to describe every song on this album. However, the fantastic music doesn’t stop after the first four brilliant songs. Each song stands on its own foot and holds up a vivacious album put out by a talented group of “Vampires?” Please don’t pass this one up.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tom Brosseau - Cavalier

This is a review I wrote last year; but since I referenced Tom in my review on Horse Feathers I thought I would post it up here. Mostly it is a space filler as I usually don't have time to blog on the weekends. As you will read this is a great album, well worth the $10 you'll spend.

His second LP in 2007 and third in the last two years, Tom has possibly crafted his most authentic folk and introspective LP. The album was recorded in "an old stable made of brick and still the old stable smell" in Bristol England. There is nothing overly fancy on Cavalier, only ordinary folk sounds, well crafted songs and the soft, almost eerie, voice of Tom Brosseau. The LP was recorded in 7 days, yet each song is tight and concise. In the quickly evolving folk scene, where dozens of instruments are used to create idiosyncratic styles, Tom Brosseau is the puritan, a 1962 Martin guitar his pulpit and Cavalier his bible. A must for all folk music fans, particularly early Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Pete Seger.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Horse Feathers - House with No Home

I will admit that I am a big fan of folk music in its many diverse forms; freak folk, indie folk, broke folk, folk pop and so on... I love the earthy tones born in the marriage of guitar and a soft voice. I love all the sounds that can be thrown into a folk song; like the random people that dance in and out of our lives they are what make the music memorable. I love the emotional charge associated with folk music; and the stories that have shaped the lives of listeners. I love that all it takes is a person and a guitar to make a folk architect, weaving words around subtle melodies.

Okay, okay… I like folk music. On to the review:

Horse Feathers' "House with No Home" is unique in its simplicity and beautiful in its complexity; if that makes sense and is at all possible. Here, let me try to explain. You take, for example, a freak folk pioneer like Phosphorescent; layers and layers of sounds, noises, organic instruments, back-up vocals layered over each other up to 10 times. This is thick complicated music, yet at its roots; Folk. On the other end you have the puritan Tom Brosseau; methodically intertwining words, melody, guitar and that’s it! His last effort, Cavalier (fat cat), was recorded in 7 days and is beautiful. Somewhere in the middle you’ll find Horse Feathers, simple because he doesn’t complicate the music with strange sounds but complex because some of the string orchestrations are fantastic.

I just read that last paragraph and realized that I used an insane amount of punctuation. I’ll try to do better.

Don’t think that this is one of those simple records. The easy listening, Amos Lee, Jack Johnson type, categorized in Best Buy under the same genre as Kenny G. (I can’t believe I just said THAT name on my blog, sorry.) The instrumentation on this album is what really stands out. The first song, Curs in the Weeds, is a beautiful song but the true instrumentation comes out in Rude to Rile. By the third song, Working Poor; mandolin and banjo are introduced just to hook you into the album.

Though Justin Ringle is Horse Feathers; he is sure to give, Heather Broderick, Peter Broderick and others credit. I’m not sure if these musicians played a primary roll in the composition of the album. Certainly, there is something hypnotic about this record and the way all the instruments tangle together.

Lastly, I would be doing this record an injustice if I didn’t mention the way Justin’s melodic voice wraps around the record like a cool autumn evening (I can’t wait for cool weather, can you tell?).

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Release of the Week: Calexico - Carried to Dust (2008)

Calexico - Carried to Dust (2008)

My pick this week could be considered bias, as Calexico is a localish group, hailing from Tucson. However, if you listen to his CD you'll agree that it deserves this spot, though there are some great releases this week.

The first time I listened to this album in its entirety was in a traffic jam an hour outside of Payson on my way to Snowflake... I always feel like I need to mention the places and circumstances involved in the moments that cause me to review or mention a record. I do this because music is tied so much with my life that sometimes it is hard to separate the two... or find the steady balance between the emotion that is born from music and the emotion that is born from life, maybe they are one and the same.

The slightly graded mountains going into Payson from Phoenix were especially green from weather. It was early in the evening and the sun was dipping into the horizon. I rolled down my window; at that altitude I could feel the cool air. This is Arizona to me, 70 degrees, sunset and classical Americana/Mexican music. People in the east down understand songs about dust and cactus like we don't understand songs about the woods and trees. It is how it should be. And though I've grown up on this music, it's still beautiful to me... just like the land it fills.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Phoenix Concerts 9/8 - 9/15

Hopefully by now you have figured out my system, if there is more then one concert on a day, I will put the concert of most significance at the top and in larger text. I have also separated the days with a nice little purple line. There are a lot of great shows this week... so enjoy!

Best Fwends @ The Trunk Space (Mon Sept 8 d @ 7p / $6)
The Coitus, Party Mom

Porches @ Tio Leo's Cantina (Mon Sept 8 d @ 8 / $5, donations)
Defenders of the Galaxy, Haunted Cologne, Di Nigunim

The Solace Brothers @ The Ruby Room (Mon Sept 8 d @ 8 / $)
Papier Tigre

Mosey Horse @ Lost Leaf Gallery (Mon Sept 8)

Death Vessel @ The Modified (Tue Sept 9 d @ 8p/ adv $9 $10 @ d)
Micah Blue Smaldone

Counting Crows @ Cricket Pavillon (Wed Sept 10 d @ 7p / varying overpriced)

Throw Me The Statue @ The Modified (Thur Sept 11 d @ 830 / $8)
Hands on Fire, Princeton

Male Pattern Radness @ Rudys Room (Thur Sept 11 d 8 / $)
the Village Idiot

Kristin Hersh / Willard Grant Conspiracy @ The Modified (Fri Sept 12 d @ 8 / $12)
Try Me Bicycle

Black Carl / What Laura Says / Fuzz @ Yucca Tap Room (Fri Sept 12 d @ 8 / $)

Whitman @ The 'Yards (Sat Sept 13 d @ 8 / free)
Stellaluna , B , Bri White , Trade Winds, Soft Shoulder

Reubens Accomplice @ Modified Arts (Sat Sept 13 d @ 7 / $)
Muzz, Source Victoria, Courtney Marie Andrews

Daryl Scairiot @ The Trunk Space (Sat Sept 13 d @ ? / $)
Maressa Curran, Young Mothers, Porches, Televandialists, & Dust

Friday, September 05, 2008

French Quarter - French Quarter

You know the soft rain that patters on roof or window of your apartment, if you’re from Arizona probably not. I’m not talking about the torrential down pore that tares palm trees apart and bends street signs; those are Monsoons. I’m talking about the rain that creep in and just lingers; you use words like drizzle to describe it, put on Nick Drake vinyls and grab a blanket to cuddle up next to a fire, only not in Arizona. Maybe that’s why French Quarter (Stephen Steinbrink) the Arizona based one man band has crafted an album that embody those rainy days that are so few and far between.

The self-titled album from French Quarter will probably not be on many top 10 lists this year; it has even managed to fly under the radar of pitchfork. However, this doesn’t concern me much; I don’t take loads of stock in pitchforks opinion anyway. I generally try to let you know a since of how an album makes me feel, suggesting only that you buy it and then judge for yourself.

Here it is: this album is beautiful in so many ways. From the distant rhythm of “bold with fire” to the beautiful silence wove in the sinew of “for andy”. And that is just the musical side. Lyrically Stephen Steinbrink has twisted a confidence within his words that would astound even a seasoned lyricist; and then you find out that he’s only 19 and you think you’ve found the fountain of youth resting beneath a cactus in Arizona. (Truth is, between Stephen, Teague Cullen, Kelly Sheridan, Bri White and James Fella you just might have. These musician, all from Tempe's Distant Colony area, are some of the biggest kept secret in Arizona/music scene... so shh, don't tell anyone, there will be more on them later.)

I never thought I could feel so much peace in an album that radiates such contentment. Maybe this is the new youthful cry, “but all hope it is not gone, it’s not wicked and it’s not wrong, it’s just deep inside your pocket or deep inside your song.” What a breath of fresh air; when Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional, age 33) and Jim Adkins (Jimmy Eat World, age 32) are still singing about teen make outs in the back seat. Not that Jim and Chris didn’t have their place in the scene but lets all take a moment to acknowledge something exiting and beautiful in French Quarter.

And when it’s still hotter then hell in September and I’m dying for a calm rain storm, I can close my eyes and imagine the drops of rain dancing on my window, the paths of water skipping from one to the other on their decent and like a home made scarf I can wrap French Quarter around my neck and be content with life.

For you enjoyment: Bold With Fire

French Quarter has a lot of CD-R's, Vinyl's and Tapes available through,
these different record labels, but if all else fails, send a letter to Stephen and he'll get you what ever you need and want, or at least get you in contact with someone who can.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Dutchess AND THE Duke - She's The Dutchess, He's The Duke

Nestled in the catacombs of my music collection are a couple of artists that I love to listen to and imagine the little clubs, bars or railroad cars they use to play in. Artists like Mississippi John Hurt, Tampa Red, Brownie McGhee and Kokoms Arnold; these were the original blues, before musicians like BB King took the blues and watered it down with meaningless lyrics and long self indulgent guitar licks. These were the musicians that influenced The Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground and countless other musicians.

I have heard musicians try to capture the organic nature of these early blues artists... mostly in vain. Every now and then I get to hear an album like "The Dutchess AND THE Duke - She's The Dutchess, He's The Duke" that takes me back to that time when music was simple and exciting. She's The Dutchess, He's The Duke are somewhere between, Leadbelly , The Rolling Stones and Velvet Underground. The album is a sultry mix of male and female vocals, gritty guitar (pre - 70's Gibson) along with the occasional hand clap (Reservoir Park), flute (You Can Tell The Truth, Now/ Mary/ I Am Just A Ghost), harmonica and tambourine. You'll quickly fall in love with the album and wonder why.

As musicians, these two are not much to shout about. Their vocals aren't great. The guitar is simple. All the additional instrumentation is easily produced with thrift store purchased recording equipment and instruments. But maybe that is the beauty of this record, the ability to remind us that sometimes all you need is two people, a guitar, harmonica and a 4 track. So to fulfill the old saying, Less is More, I give you; The Dutchess AND THE Duke - She's The Dutchess, He's The Duke.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

As promised every two weeks a list of some groups that I think should get a little recognition... but i am changing the name of the post because I felt obtuse and presumptuous. So it will now be known as: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.
The list really gets exiting near the end!

Wild Sweet Orange
Genre: Rock
Birmingham, Alabama
Why? Take Americana and a little Coldplay and then give it the voice of Jon Foreman (Switchfoot) and your sure to have success.

Right Away, Great Captain!
Genre: Folk/Broken
Atlanta, Georgia
Why? This is Andy Hull's (Manchester Orchestra) side project. The second album comes out in the next few month a long with Manchester Orchestra's latest effort, both should be divine slash, I'm a little more exited about Right Away, Great Captain!

The White Rabbits
Genre: Indie/Rock
New York, New York
Why? Bands with two drummers will always make this list... but seriously, check these guys out!

Band Marino
Genre: Indie/Freak Folk
Orlando, Florida
Why? Where album that came out in March is fantastic and is starting to get a considerable amount of buzz. This is some happy up beat music, played mostly in major keys!

The Mint Chicks
Genre: Powerpop
Why? I love Portland and this is one of my favorite groups from up there. They have a little Octopus Project thing going with lyrics though. Their latest effort; Crazy? Yes! Dumb? No! comes out next Tuesday.

Mount Eerie
Genre: Indie/experimental
Anacortes, Washington
Why? I'm working on a post called "the innovators" that will focus on artist that are at the front lines of music, particularly the indie scene. Mount Eerie should be on that post, but her is here. It's another side project from, Phil Elevrum (The Microphones).

The Mood
Genre: Powerpop / Psychedelic / Rock
New York, New York
Why? They released a little EP in July that is getting a lot of well deserved buzz.

Genre: Noise/Rock
Why? They have wildly fantastic live shows and have been touring like crazy!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Release of the Week: Birdmonster - From the Mountain to the Sea

Birdmonster - From the Mountian to the Sea
This weeks release came to me a few weeks ago via Sinkweeds. Due to a leak the album has been out digitally for a couple of weeks but official hits stores today.

San Fransisco kind of has this little scene, maybe you have heard of The Morning Benders, The Dodos or if your in deep the Mumblers. Anyway, this is another great band to add to that list. I enjoy the way these guys mesh quick acoustic rhythms with stark electric guitar riffs in a sort of an Okkervil River style. I can't stop thinking of Bob Dylan as I follow the rhyming patters and lyric use. The album flows from fast to slow song very nicely and is covered with great songs and great musicianship.

Birdmonster will be at the Yacca Tap Room on Oct 13th which would be an amazing place to see these guys! So mark your calendar.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Phoenix Concerts 9/1 - 9/8

I took a couple of days with out posting last week; I went to the north country "where the winds hit heavy on the borderline", slash to Snowflake and Safford. This marks the one month anniversary of my blog and though I have no way of telling who is reading it... I'm not sure that it concerns me because I am having loads of fun doing it! So if you find my blog interesting and want to share it with others great and thanks... but its the music that matters to me.
There are some wicked sweet shows coming up this week and especially this month! I am particually exited about the Best Fwends, Zach Burba and the Nodzzz shows. I'm going to keep the new music and reviews coming... please feel free to recommend music to me. Coming up are reviews on Tapes 'n Tapes, What Laura Says and Birdmonster. The most exiting release this month is probably Cold War Kids, so look for that near the end of the month.
Thanks for everything!

Portugal. The Man @ The Clubhouse (Mon Sept 1 d @ 6 / $15)
Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground, RX Bandits

Nodzzz @ The Manor (Tue Sept 2 d @ 7 / Free)
The Tradewinds, Garrett and Chadd, Teejay Sundance

Zach Burba of iji's going away show @ Trunk Space (Tue Sept 2 d @ 7 / $6)

Boom Snake @ The Modified (Wed Sept 3 d @ 7 / $10)

Steve E Nix and The Cute Lepers @ The Modified (Thur Sept 4 d @ 730 / $10)
Avenue Rose, My Mind

Why? @ The Clubhouse (Fri Sept 5 d @ 8p /$10)

Best Fwends @ The Trunk Space (Mon Sept 8 d @ 7p / $6)
The Coitus, Party Mom

Phoenix Concerts Month of September
There are a ton of great shows in September that I just wanted to give everyone a heads up on. I'll still post a list of shows every weeks, but some of these you should get tickets to pretty soon.

Death Vessel @ The Modified (Tue Sept 9 d @ 8p/ adv $9 $10 @ d)
Micah Blue Smaldone

Counting Crows @ Cricket Pavillon (Wed Sept 10 d @ 7p / varying overpriced)

Dr. Dog @ Club Congress (Tue Sept 16 Tucson d @ 8p / adv $10.00, $12.00 @ d)
Delta Spirit and Hacienda

Street Scene @ San Diego (Sept 19th and 20th)

My Morning Jacket @ Marquee Theater (Wed Sept 23, d @ 630p / adv $30, $35 @ d)

Vampire Weekend @ Marquee Theater (Wed Sept 24, d @ 7p / adv $19, $25 @ d)
The F*ckin Kennies

Okkervil River @ The Clubhouse (Thur Sept 25 d @ 8 / $15)
Sea Wolf

Sigur Ros @ Marquee Theater (Tue Sept 30 d @ 630p / adv $30, $35 @ d)

Ra Ra Riot @ The Modified (Mon Sept 29 d @ 8p / adv $8, $10 @ d)
The Morning Benders, Walter Meego