Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thoughts on ACL 2007 lineup

Alright, I've got few minutes here at lunch so I'm going to throw a few things out there...

So the Austin City Limits Festival lineup is posted and I'm angry with Little Gun for bringing it to my attention.

There. I said it. There's no way I'm going to make it down there...unless something crazy happens where I win the lottery and production at the studio stops for a week. If that happens I'm there, otherwise, I just have to sit and wish I was there like every year. Single tear. ;(

Great lineup as always. Favorites in the first heading: Arcade Fire, Wilco, Arctic Monkeys, White Stripes (and my brother loves My Morning Jacket and I've liked what I've heard so far so I need to check them out). Favorites in the second heading: DRice, Decemberists, Regina Spektor, Devotchka, Amos Lee, Ben Kweller, Andrew Bird, and I've always wanted to see the Flecktones play live.

Now here's where I get pissed off...Pete Yorn as a third tier artist? You've got to be shitting me. He played four nights in a row here in NYC last fall and tickets were gone immediately...I know because I tried to get one for ANY of the nights. Also, I guess I can see Ike Reilly being a third tier on paper but he's way better than half of the second tier artists. I've heard good things about Peter Bjorn & John, Yo La Tengo, and Amy Winehouse but I feel like that would be too arrogant of me to comment on them yet; I'll leave that stuff up to Jack the Rabbit.

I really wish they released each of these concerts as a live cd. They would make a mint. Or some DVDs of an entire show? I get mad when I see a great performance and it's really only like 1/8 of what they played that night. I want the full experience!

As you can probably tell, I'm bitter about my lack of attendance. I guess I'll have to live vicariously through Little Gun for the second year in a row...

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Speaking of Albert Hammond, Jr.

When I saw Little D (trying it out) mention the strokes guitarist in his Mason post (by the way, very artsy picture of the ticket stub), and I had to throw out a plug for his side project Yours To Keep. It is basically a toned down Strokes album, but I enjoy a good toned down Strokes album. Most tracks contain the catchy licks that you would expect from Hammond, but they also contain some pretty solid vocals that you may not expect. Hammond got a hand on the album from Strokes front man Julian Casablancas, Ben Kweller, and Sean Lennon. On the album there are only two misses in my opinion (I didn't care for "Well Alright" and "Postal Blowfish," which are bonus tracks on the album that I think could have been left off), with a few very notable tracks ("Everyone Gets a Star," "Blue Skies," "Hard to Live in the City, and"101."). The amazing thing about this stellar album is that Hammond only has one writing credit to his name on a Strokes song. Coincidentally, it is on "Automatic Stop," my second favorite Strokes jam. And it appears that while the band is on hiatus, Hammond is continuing to write new tunes. Anyway, I listened to this cd on repeat for the 2 weeks after I bought it, and I still pull out tracks from it for an On the Go playlist with some consistency. I'd recommend you pick this one up until the next installation from Albert's band.

p.s. Please note how cool Hammond, Jr. (far right) is in the photo. Here's my favorite track.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Wood Brothers in Brooklyn, USA

The Wood Brothers live at a bar called Southpaw in Brooklyn on April 20th 2007.

Little Dynamite and I went to go see The Wood Brothers at Southpaw in Brooklyn a couple of weekends ago. The pictures included in this post are from that night. Little Dynamite was charming enough to convince a woman named Regan to e-mail us the pictures that she was taking; she did a very nice job capturing the vibe, and it makes this post that much more authentic.

Southpaw was the perfect venue for us that night, in that they sold beer and we were able to stand right against the stage, putting us about 8 to 10 feet from the Wood Brothers. It's also in Brooklyn, which makes it edgy and cool. The Wood Brothers are, as you might suspect, a couple of brothers who make some pretty good music. Chris Wood plays the stand-up bass with either a slapping hand or a bow. Owen Wood plays guitar and takes the lead on the vocals.

The Wood Brothers play the blues with a down home country twang. Their first album, Ways Not To Lose, is a CD that I have owned for about a year now and it is one of my favorites in my collection. I bought it on the strength of a single track, Atlas, which I heard on the radio and knew that I had to own the album immediately. I was not disappointed. Their music is compelling as blues music at its best can be, and the lyrics sung by Owen Wood are genuine, heartfelt and moving. The CD also features an admirable array of styles and emotion, which makes it much more listenable than I find most albums to be.

Live, these guys sound very much as they do in studio. This is both a testament to their ability to re-create their masterful sound in a concert setting, as well as a nod to the album's informal sound to begin with. It is also a true pleasure to watch Chris work the bass and to see Owen's hands bring the sounds he does from his guitar, mixing in some slide guitar along the way. The two share a chemistry, as brothers should, that allows them to say things like "You ready to do that one? Yeah, let's do that one." That happened. They mixed in a number of new songs which in many cases outshone the older catalogue that I was familiar with. I expect their sophmore studio effort to be phenomenal.

The set list is as follows (captured, as always, by Dynamite's mobile phone):
Loving Arms
When I Was Young
My Fall
Where My Baby Might Be
Postcard from Hell
You never can pay enough
One more day

If there were no stand-outs, it was only because the set was so solid. I can't remember EVER enjoying a concert where the artists play mostly new material as much as I did on 4/20 in Brooklyn. These guys are really talented and their music resonates just right with my tastes. I will note that I believe Little Dynamite's favorite new track was Postcard From Hell, and I can't disagree.

Anyway, get into these guys, and go see them live if you get the chance. I'll attach a couple of tracks to the end to give you a headstart. Dynamite and I had a chance to chat with Chris and Owen after the show and they're very nice guys. They said they're going in to record the new album sometime later this year, so we shouldn't have too long to wait for some new stuff from these brothers.

Atlas (the reason I know about these guys)

Tried and Tempted (really wish they had played this one -- and told them so. they said they just didn't have enough time)