Friday, April 14, 2006

Addendum to Canon #5

Summer Festival Update

I'll probably be making it down to one (maybe two) of the three festivals in Chicago this summer. The one being the Pitchfork Music Festival (and Intonation as the maybe). I think Pitchfork's lineup is undoubtedly stronger overall, but Intonation has Jon Brion, who I really, really want to see. I've seen Bloc Party, so I might just go for Brion on that day. And if the Streets don't make it up to Minneapolis, I'd like to go down there to see him. I think I'll be in Chicago that weekend anyway. Intonation also has the Boredoms, Bob Pollard, the Stills, Kano, and Lady Sovereign.

July 29:
Silver Jews
The Futureheads
Ted Leo / Pharmacists
Art Brut
The Mountain Goats
Band of Horses
Man Man
Hot Machines
and more...

July 30:
Os Mutantes
Yo La Tengo
Devendra Banhart
Mission of Burma
Aesop Rock
The National
Jens Lekman
Tapes 'n Tapes
Chin Up Chin Up
and more...

Lollapalooza is the weekend after Pitchfork Fest, and has some great acts, but I just can't make it down to Chicago two weekends in a row. Plus, it's like $100 more than either Pitchfork or Intonation. But they've got Kanye West, Wilco, the Flaming Lips, Ween, the Shins, Common, Ryan Adams, Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney, Broken Social Scene, Built to Spill, the Hold Steady, the Go! Team, Of Montreal, Hot Chip, and a shit ton more. But I've seen most of these bands. Also, last year when I went to Lollapalooza, I was backstage eating free Spago-catered sandwiches and watching from the VIP area next to Perry Ferrell most of the time. That won't happen again this year.

Coachella and Bonnaroo are coming up, which I talked about a few months ago. Both have pretty good lineups, but are too far away/expensive.

Although, I kind of just want to be like, "Fuck it, I'm going to Coachella." Stranger things have happened...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Canon #5

Talking Heads - "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)"

I want to start this edition of the Canon with a quote from my good friend and co-blogger, Rob, who once said: "Songs just don't get any better than this." He is right. I could stop writing there, but, then, I would deprive my dear readers (all seven of you!) the pleasure of reading my sappy and exaggerated musings. Fortunately for me, this is a sappy song, and I say that with the utmost respect.

The Talking Heads are nothing less than one of the greatest American rock bands, or, one of the greatest rock bands for that matter. However, they were never known for being especially sentimental or sweet. Amidst all of David Byrne's detached, cynical observations and rampant musical experimentation, there are tender moments to be found, and "Naive Melody" is the most tender. Since their sweet moments are far and few between, you know there's only sincerity and vulnerability behind lines like "And you love me til my heart stops/Love me til I'm dead." The band's performance is restrained and lulling - a perfect bed for the lyrics. It's hypnotic melody, exotic instrumentation, and Byrne's impassioned vocals find a deep trench in your brain and never leave.

I should probably note that I became especially transfixed by this song after hearing David Byrne perform it with the Arcade Fire. As a devout fan of both the Arcade Fire and the Talking Heads, this pairing was a godsend. When I heard this version, I could not believe how young and passionate David Byrne still sounded. I also thought that the Arcade Fire's performance of the song sounded better than the Talking Heads' original studio version of "Naive Melody." Win Butler's guitar carries the melody instead of Jerry Harrison's keyboards, and, the kettle drums and violin add wonderful nuances to an already exceptional song.

I guess this must be the place.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sometimes We Rock and Roll

Wolf Parade - Live at Webster Hall (4/9/06)

The highlights of the night:

1) Finally hearing Wolf Parade play "Modern World" and "Grounds For Divorce" (The band refused to play these songs the first two times I saw them)

2) Meeting Aziz Ansari in front of the restroom before the show.

3) Hearing 3 new Wolf Parade songs that sounded as good as anything else they've done

Last night was my third time seeing Wolf Parade live, and the rush of joy I get from seeing them perform has not diminished one bit. There are few bands that are as exciting just to watch: Spencer tickling and pounding his keyboards, Hadji coaxing wails from his theremin, and Dan jerking chords from his guitar. Their encore was an unbelievable one-two punch of "This Heart's On Fire" and "I'll Believe In Anything." Hearing those two songs live, you'd think they wrote them just to have a perfect way to end every concert. I'm dying to hear what they do next.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sawin' Blogs Goes Emo

Hey remember me? The rumors are true. I'm writing from Minneapolis now. Home of Westerberg, Husker Du, and Prince. But if I hear one more thing about the Replacements, well, I don't know what. I hear them in every bar, read about them in every newspaper, etc. Hell, the only bar I've been going to so far is where the band used to hang out. But I've meet some cool folks and have been to a few shows. It's weird going to venues that I'd always seen listed in tour schedules. The 400 Bar is cool, it's like Schubas meets the Empty Bottle. I saw Art Brut at 7th Street Entry, which is a small room attached to First Avenue, which I still need to visit. I'll get there soon enough.

People in Minneapolis seem really proud of the music scene and especially the larger bands that have come out of there. Maybe it's just because I'm new here and I'm picking up on it, but there is much more local music pride in Minneapolis than Chicago, which tends just to be Wilco this and Billy Corgan that. Although it seems like most bands you'd want to see go through Minneapolis, I've heard of several different people driving down to Chicago just for shows, so I guess Chicago still has that edge.

Anyway, enough about that. You're here to read about music. Here are five new(ish) songs that I've been spinning through like mad.

1. Ghostface - "Be Easy"
The Fishscale album is killer, but "Be Easy" is my jam right now. Hearing that chorus live would be more than worth the price of admission to a Ghostface show. The drumfill and slight beat right before it comes in just slays me. Never before has one split-second of music said "THE MOTHERFUCKING PARTY HAS ARRIVED" as triumphantly. I was just about to complain about how Ghostface doesn't get enough mainstream love, but I just checked and this album debuted at #4 last week, so go figure.

2. Figurines - "The Wonder"
I really hope this Danish band does well. Not because they're Danish, but Skeleton because this is just a really solid indie pop album. When I read Pitchfork's description of Tapes'n'Tapes (speaking of, everyone I've met knows someone in this band or something), this is the record I expected/wanted to hear. It's also got huge hints of After the Gold Rush-era Neil Young. But not so much in this particular song, which just fucking rocks in the right way to make the indie kids dance.

3. Vetiver - "You May Be Blue"
Vetiver has been lumped in with the whole Devendra Banhart end of the freakfolk movement. And the self-tilted debut justified that, but hopefully this new album-- To Find Me Gone-- will help them get some more exposure. It's more interesting than just strumming and humming around the drum circle. This particular song, and I apologize in advance, is Marc Bolan meets Grateful Dead. Just what the kids ordered.

4. Danielson - "Did I Step On Your Trumpet"
If the cutesy Christian aspects of Sufjan Stevens irk you, I would suggest staying away from Danielson. Because it's a full on famile (not a typo) cult. Very theatrical, very intricate. Danielson has one of those difficult voices, but really, who doesn't have a weird voice these days? This track is on the upcoming Ships album. The Danielson Famile (not a typo) have been around for awhile, but this is their big statement. Absolutely epic and endlessly rewarding if you listen intently and repeatedly.

5. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - "Love Connection"
I'm afraid that CFTPA is a gimmick project. It's hard for me to make it through a whole album without it grating on me. It becomes too cute. But, this song, the last one on the new Etiquette, basically renders trite a whole generation of Livejournaling Myspacers. Why the indie boys and girls haven't completely lost their shit over this song yet is beyond me. It describes an awkward sexual encounter more "honestly" than anything I've heard in a long time. I'll leave you with the lyrics:

chapped lips
tongue kissed
insert expletive
fluids of a summer night
with slight duress
forced imperatives
find me quoting pennington
a delicate blend of sweat and menstrual blood
seeping into trampled grass

so take my lip between your teeth
and taste me by devouring
and i'll start watching my weight again
oh oh

woke up at dawn
face down on the lawn
head awash with what had been
rest cheek to cheek
fingers underneath
soft impressions of your teeth
some hours lost and at such a cost
stains and scars i can't explain

so take my lip between your teeth
and taste me by devouring
and i'll start watching my weight again
oh oh oh

some things
are best left unsaid