Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thunder Road - Pt. II

A lot of people think that Thunder Road is the greatest song of all time. They're wrong; but they aren't off by as much as people who think songs like Two Step by DMB and Stay by Jackson Browne are the greatest.

Anyway, Thunder Road is an incredible song. It's a beautiful moment of hope for two young Americans. The future of their lives lies in the balance of those long seconds between the screen door slam and the (potential) car door slam. I can sene their quickening hearts during the stand-off. The scene is remarkably genuine. Will our young Romeo take off alone, or with company? What will the future hold?

The Boss left the decision up to us for a while. What did we think happened? Our own life experiences probably dictated our thoughts.

But what most people don't know is that we have the second piece of the puzzle. We can see how it all panned out. There is a Thunder Road Pt. II song. It's called The Promise.

Enjoy. I'll say hi to Mr. Springsteen at MSG for you all tonight.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

You Ain't No Picasso

JTR played me the song "You Ain't No Picasso," by Bishop Allen a while back, most notably, I presume, because the chorus is "you ain't no picasso." And I haven't thought of them much since. However, I just read a little piece about them (of course it was in Paste) saying that last year they made 12 EPs (one for each month), and have just come out with a new album that Paste gave four stars (out of 5). So I thought I'd check out a track or two...and I think you should too.

Iron & Wine, Josh Ritter etc.

Excuse me if I'm all over the place on this post, but I get internet one day a week when I go over to my buddy Alan's place to watch football, so I've gotta make this one count. To better organize my thoughts, I'll go to bullet form (To close, switching to guns).

*Iron & Wine Little D, the concert sounds amazing. I'd really like to see the show, but last I checked, Austin-based Iron & Wine is not coming to Austin...awkward. Also, I applaud you for your diction (you know you got out your thesaurus for "cacophony"); you'll ace the GRE...not that you'll need to take it, seeing as how all you do is make major motion pictures. Which segues me back into Iron & Wine (Beam has an MFA from FSU). I also really enjoyed the new album. However, while the broader arrangements on this album is definitely a natural progression for Beam, there were times when I missed the vintage Iron & Wine sound. This is never more true than in the song "Wolves," which reminds me of one of those songs of Bob Schneider's where he tries to rap, with equally mediocre results. And I think Beam is aware of this too, which is why he follows it up on the album with "Resurrection Fern," the most classically Iron & Wine song on the album, featuring some pedal steel and Beam's voice coming to the forefront so we can hear the lyrics. Also, while I really like "Boy With a Coin," doesn't it kind of sound like Nelly Furtado could have collaborated on that song.

Anyway, if you're eager for some vintage Beam after hearing his new album, pick up his first album Creek Drank the Cradle. I realize that many of you may already own the disc, but I heard it for the first time the other day and thought it was fantastic. It's just Beam cooing his poetry over banjo and acoustic finger-picking. Recorded in his basement on a four-track, apparently singing so softly so as not to wake his daughters. A great ying to Shepherd's yang.

*Has anyone checked out Josh Ritter's back catalog? After Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter, when Josh Ritter became my favorite artist of all time, I decided to do just that. Of course I already owned Animal Years, so I bought the album Hello, Starling, Ritter's second effort following The Golden Age of Radio (which somehow costs $15 dollars on itunes...if that's not arrogant...). It's really fun to see Ritter's progression from a collection of mostly sparsely arranged, pretty folk songs ('s fantastic by the way) to the classically Americana Animal Years, to the epic that Historical Conquests is.

4 random notes on Ritter: 1) Brian Howe from Paste magazine, gave Historical Conquests 4 1/2 stars (out of 5), and called Ritter "the most gifted interpreter of Americana, as an arranger and a lyricicst, working today." 2) Joan Baez covered the song "Wings" off of Starling. 3) Also according to Paste, Ritter created his own major at Oberlin College called: American History Through Narrative Folk Music...raise your hand if you would not have majored in that if it was offered. 4) How arrogant of Ritter is it to put two versions of the same song, "Wait For Love," on his album...and how much do you love him for it?

*Is there any doubt that Little D used drugs at the Flaming Lips show he went to?

*The Sunday version of my ACL post should be up by Christmas.

*I just complained that BC is rated 3rd behind South Florida...I think I'm getting spoiled.

*And speaking of BC, can we all speak sometime about where Craig Finn went to college...I think it's time.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Arrogant Names Etc.

Leave it to a Brit to have two unnecessary letters in his name -- the "h" in Thom and the "e" in Yorke. From here on out I will refer to him only as Tom York. That sounds more like a guy you'd go drinking with, and less like a pretentious artiste. I mean, as arrogant as Jeff Tweedy is, at least he doesn't spell him name Geoff Tweadey.

By the way -- wonder how far your 7 quid went towards covering the 1000s of people who will pay 1 American cent for the album. Also I wonder who will pay the most for it. If I hear about some idiot paying $350 grand I will not even be shocked. Also, my bet is that Little Gun will pay $9.99. He always plays it by the book.

Finally, great call on the Clay Aiken thing.


€7 Does NOT Equal £7

So I guess Radiohead made $15 instead of $10 off me...that doesn't make Thom Yorke look any less like Clay Aiken...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Why Jack the Rabbit is the most credible blogger of KTTU

1) Little Gun likes The Weepies. Visit the website and please note the following: "The Weepies collaborate on Mandy Moore's new album." I will never forgive Little G for tricking me into buying Say I Am You.

2) Little Dynamite will openly admit that he doesn't care too much about lyrics. It's really unfathomable that his taste in music is as good as it is, given the aforementioned fact.

So, for the record, in all instances of disagreement, the Rabbit has the final word.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Bad Plus are pretty good

My brother went to see this group called The Bad Plus back home in Minneapolis and he sent me this video for an idea of their performance...pretty sweet.

I don't know anything about them, but I like what I see so far. Maybe Little Bubs will comment and give us some insight into the show...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Black Moth Super Rainbow - as crazy as their name suggests

If you're wondering who would come up with a band name like Black Moth Super Rainbow, you don't have to think hard. With band member names such as Tobacco, The Seven Fields of Aphelion, Power Pill Fist, iffernaut, and Father Hummingbird, you know this band is going to be insane - and I mean that in the most literal sense possible.

Once you get over their ridiculous names, you're left with a solid group that is full of psychedelia, electro-rock, folk, and other wild combinations that usually don't fall under my muscial umbrella. I saw them live opening for the Flaming Lips at the Myth in Minneapolis where I was hooked on their creative energy and moving music. On stage, the band is not lit, save for a disturbing collection of what looked to be '70s low budget muppet shows (NOT Sesame Street) and early '90s B-movie scenes on a large screen behind them. While the films had nothing to do with the show, it put the audience in an uneasy and on-your-toes state of mind that eventually allowed everyone to open up their minds and relax. The band, sihouetted against said screen, was rendered as one dark entity, fluidly making music together.

At first, I was not into the music at all; turned off by the experimental sound and lack of focus since there was no clear band leader for me to pick out in the dark. However, after a few minutes, I began to get sucked into the sound as well, as the images projected behind them incoherantly narrated the tracks while Tobacco sang distorted lyrics on his vocoder that were hardly recognizable as English. By the end of their set, I didn't even care about the Lips coming on stage - I just wanted them to keep playing.

A group of software engineers and other nerdy backgrounds, Black Moth Super Rainbow keep their anonymity so that they are able to lead an enviable double life on the road making music and rocking out unsuspecting crowds around the country.

Check out their myspace page for some key tracks, including my absolute favorite "Sun Lips." Listen to it a few times if necessary, but don't give up on these guys if you aren't hooked immediately. You've got to be in the right mood for it (like waiting for the similarly crazy Lips to start playing) so don't force it if it isn't there.

Further listening, including "Sun Lips," can be found for keeps on their website. (RTs: "Vietcaterpillar," the entertaining "Boatfriend," and the ever cool "Lost, Picking Flowers in the Woods") Keep an open mind and enjoy the goodness!

Click here
for another great song - "Forever Heavy"

Monday, October 1, 2007

Radiohead are changing the world

This is the most revolutionary thing to hit the music industry since Napster. I'm speechless.

Radiohead's new album, which I was impatiently waiting to show up next year, is being released in 9 days in a surprise move. That's not the revolutionary part.

You pay what you want for the album.

That's right. You, the consumer, get to choose how much you want to pay to buy Radiohead's new CD. That goes from free to infinity (and beyond). I will eagerly purchase it for $9.99 in thanks for such a phenomenal idea. This might change the music industry as we know it. And remember, Radiohead don't have a record label. They're doing this all on their own. Here's to hoping they make a mint off this and encourage other free thinking ideas from today's music frontrunners (*ahem* Pearl Jam *ahem*)...

And in case you were wondering, I like Radiohead. A lot.

Iron and Wine - Live at Town Hall, NYC 9/30/07 (featuring a review of this year's best album The Shepherd's Dog)

It's kinda late, so I'll be brief with this review, but don't let the brevity of this post short sell this performance in your mind. I've been a big fan of Austin-based Iron and Wine (anyone spotting a trend here?) for a while now, but this was my first time seeing them live -- needless to say, I was more than impressed.

Their current tour is in support of their brand new album, the phenomenal The Shepherd's Dog which just hit stores on Tuesday. I've only had a chance to listen to it a few times since I bought it, but from the moving opener "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car," through the final tune "Flightless Bird, American Mouth," this album already has "instant classic" written all over it. I think it rivals Josh Ritter's newest album The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter in comparison, so that's saying something.

In short, it's perfection on plastic.

On to the show. I rarely see a show that I don't like because I usually will only spend my cash on someone that I know will be good live. However, I've never heard any reviews of Iron and Wine's live shows, so this was a little bit of a leap for me based solely on my appreciation of their studio work. I was actually expecting a toned down show since most of their work can be stripped down to Sam Beam's exceptional vocals and an acoustic guitar and still sound as sweet as ever. Surprisingly, eight - count 'em, eight - people walked on stage. I'll list what each of the eight did just to give you an oversight into how talented this group was:

1) Sam - acoustic/electric guitars; lead vocals

2) violin; vocals (I don't know who this woman is, but I have a major crush on her; and yes, of course she had red hair)

3) piano; electric guitar

4) upright bass; electric bass guitar

5) drums (this guy was amazing)

6) accordion; vibraphone; electric guitar

7) slide guitar; electric guitar


The eighth person in the band gets his own paragraph. This dude had what I'll call a "percussion pit." He sat behind two small tables with a cacophony of instruments that looked as if he were barricading himself against a horde of High School Musical fanatics. Here's a quick rundown of things I saw him play: 2 hollow wooden boxes (wood block style except much larger...think table sized), mini-xylophone, finger cymbals, bongos, snare drum, crash cymbal, 3 tambourines, 2 salt shakers, different shaped bowls that "pinged," a hand-held bell with no pin, a triangle wand (sounded like a triangle, but it was on the end of a wand, not dangling and he appeared to just hit his own free hand gently with it under the mic), one of those billy clubs with bells on it, and a steel drum. I know I missed more, but I couldn't watch him the whole night...

The slide guitar was a welcome touch on this night, as they played songs almost exclusively off the new album. I don't want to get into favorites because they were all pretty amazing in their own right, and my favorites from the album so far are premature. I will say I'm really happy I got to hear "Boy with a Coin" before I left. In fact, I'm pretty sure they played almost, if not everything off The Shepherd's Dog. The did play a couple of tracks not on the CD, such as "Jezebel" and "Sodom, South Georgia" that were beautiful, but on the whole, they featured their new stuff prominently. And for good reason.

My only complaint for the night was a one-song encore, but to be honest, it didn't matter. The show exceeded my expectations so much that I couldn't have asked for anything more.

Listen to the ENTIRE album at their myspace page!!! I'm hesitant to give RT's because of how amazing each song is (hint: listen to the whole album...or just go buy it!) but if you're going to be lazy, make sure you catch...oh Jesus, this is hard to narrow down..."Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car," "Lovesong of the Buzzard," "Resurrection Fern," and "The Devil Never Sleeps." I'm listing those so that anyone listening for the first time will get a good overview of what to expect from Iron and Wine.

Side Note #1) NPR's very legit "All Song's Considered" has their show from last night in D.C. available to stream here. Haven't listened to it yet, but I guarantee it's awesome.

Side Note #2) I think I was/am supposed to live in Austin. Maybe my doppelganger lives there instead of me.

Side Note #3) Town Hall is a great place for a concert. Just ask Feist.

Side Note #4) The opening band was sweet. Arthur & Yu. I bought their CD after only hearing 3 songs (we got in a little later than I had hoped). Post forthcoming.

Side Note #5) When I went to name this my favorite album of the year, I realized that 2007 is really shaping up to be a ridiculous year for new releases. Our end of the year top 10 is going to be crowded. I expect blog-blood to be spilled as we are forced to hammer out our list come Dec. '07/Jan. '08 but I'm really looking forward to it.

so much for the short in t-minus 4 hours...gross...