Monday, April 30, 2012

The Raconteurs "Steady As She Goes"

You Gotta Hear This!!! (RECENTLY ADDED)

i am walking around these days in a semi-delirous haze, my head is spinning, my toes are tapping, my fingers snappin', my ear buds are stuck in my ears permanently...


First and foremost JACK WHITE with his solo debut LP and tour... but also Spiritualized, M. Ward, Damon Albarn, The Dandy Warhols and.... so much more!

I've been feeling for a while (starting maybe around 2008) that there was a veritable renaissance in indie music (rock, pop, and Americana.... all the alt, garage, blues-based, lo-fi, Nuggets-inspired, British-influenced psychedelia one could possibly handle)... but now i am even MORE convinced of that fact...


and... well, I'm not exactly the religious type but, as they say on "Game of Thrones", thank the gods for Mr. Jack White... i'm ready to name him as lord and savior; how 'bout you?

it has long been a regret of mine that i never got to see The White Stripes live in concert. Once, while I was living in New York, I made plans to see them at Roseland with my cousin, the DJ and producer Valentino La Rosa, but we couldn't get tickets.

i did get to see Jack a few times with The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, but i feared i would never hear "Seven Nation Army" or any other White Stripes classic live ever.


Jack White has embarked on his first solo tour and has been playing songs he first performed with The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, with other collaborators, and as a solo artist, including many of The White Stripes classics we have come to know and love including "Seven Nation Army", "Dead Leaves", and "We Are Gonna Be Friends".

Last week, we had the release of his solo debut album Blunderbuss (we had heard the two singles, "Love Interruption" and "Sixteen Saltines" earlier) and we had Jack White appearing all over the TV and Internet.... in England, he did some gigs and played on the musically-influential TV show Later... With Jools Holland (Jools Holland, of Squeeze fame, is a long-term White Stripes supporter who was obviously delighted, like bubbling champagne lava overflowing its volcano, to be hosting a solo Jack White, even playing keyboards with him on a snippet of "St. James Infirmary Blues")... in America, White was on The Colbert Report, being interviewed by Bob Boilen for NPR's All Songs Considered, and performing at New York's Webster Hall to a packed enthusiastic audience, broadcast live on the web (directed by actor Gary Oldman) as part of a major credit card company's UNSTAGED series... 

At Webster Hall, he performed his own classics, a bunch of his new songs, as well as "You Know That I Know" from The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams and "Two Against One" from Danger Mouse's Rome album.

(you can see videos of those performances here)

it's enough to make a fan freakin' hyperventilate with excitement.

i'm set to see Jack White perform at Washington State's Sasquatch Festival at the end of May, and am thinking of making the trek to see him at San Francisco's Outside Lands Festival in August, as well as any other shows I can make it to this year.

Meanwhile, I've been rocking the hell out of this song lately.... it's Jack White's cover of the U2 song "Love is Blindness"

... and if you've never seen the Jack White Coke commercial (awesome video) with the song "Love is The Truth" (awesome song), here you go. You're welcome.

being able to see jack white in his prime... it almost makes up for living in a country that Pete Doherty is not allowed to visit....

But speaking of British geniuses, at least The Arctic Monkeys' love affair with America carries on unabated, and you know what? These days, America is lovin' them Monkeys right back! After years of playing smallish American venues (as opposed to the mega-venues they play in the UK and elsewhere), Arctic Monkeys are playing huge U.S. arenas, opening up for The Black Keys. (The unlikely tale of the mega-success of The Black Keys is surely a story that needs to be told one day soon. They are good, but their mainstream success is really inexplicable - a blues-based two-piece rock band from Ohio takes over the world? Since when does that happen? Ok, good songs, hardest working duo in show biz, great, fun band live... but surely there are plenty of bands like that who never "make it" - the question is why them and why now and why not someone else instead? And who could have predicted their omnipresence on TV commercials, movie and TV soundtracks, etc.?)

Fans were able to catch The Arctic Monkeys steaming live from Coachella Weekend 1 online as well as hear two new songs - "Electricity" and the stunning "R U Mine?" (which has gotten some U.S. radio play)


Of course many of us are still digging the hell out of their last album Suck It And See, and the fantastic B-sides that have come out since - "I.D.S.T.", "The Blond-O-Sonic Shimmer Trap", "Evil Twin", "You And I" (with Richard Hawley) and one of my favorite Monkeys/Death Ramps songs, "Little Illusion Machine (Wirral Riddler)" (with Miles Kane). Also a good excuse to listen to the Monkeys' previous releases. They play Portland's Rose Garden (AKA, where The Blazers try to play basketball) with The Black Keys next Monday (May 7).

That brings us to Spiritualized. If you haven't heard their new 8-minute powerhouse "Hey Jane" from the new album Sweet Heart, Sweet Light, let's pause for a moment so you can catch up.

Spiritualized is basically Jason "Spaceman" Pierce (formerly of Spaceman 3) and his band. They are quite well-known at home in the UK, but have a smaller yet devoted following in the US.

Hey Jane where you going today?
You living fast lane life right away
Got no place for your rotten life
A heart like yours never satisfied

Hey Jane when you gonna fly?
Got wings like a butterfly...

"Sweet Jane" on the radio...

Sweet Heart, Sweet Light
Sweet Heart, Love of My Life...

One of the finest concerts I have ever seen ever was Spiritualized at New York's fabled Radio City Music Hall with a freakin' orchestra doing the classic album Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space in its entirety. I had previously become a true believer seeing him perform Songs In A&E at San Francisco's Treasure Island Festival in 2008 (The Raconteurs played later that night).

The violence suffered by the trannie hooker in the "Hey Jane" video is shocking and quite disturbing (mitigated to some extent by the "bad guy" getting his head blown off in the end) but it really does capture the spirit of the song and what a spirit it is... it just chugs along for 4 or 5 minutes, slows down, builds back up to a stunning conclusion.

Get the album right away and try to catch Spiritualized on the concert/festival circuit this Spring/Summer.

Oh, I'll use this as an excuse to give a shout out to Dr. John, New Orleans boogie keyboardist & voodoo practitioner extraordinaire who has a new cool single "Revolution" out now (produced by The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach).

Dr. John also co-wrote "I Am What I Am" on Spiritualized's Sweet Heart, Sweet Light and famously provided the cataclysmic finale of the 17-minute epic "Cop Shoot Cop" from Ladies And Gentleman...

Hey man there's a hole in my arm 
where all the money goes...
Jesus Christ... died for nothin'...
I suppose...

Cop shoot cop
I believe I believe that I have been reborn
Cop shoot cop
I haven't got the time no more...

Spiritualized are playing at the Sasquatch Festival in Washington on May 28 and at Portland's Wonder Ballroom on May 25.

Speaking of Portland (hey, I'm trying to tie all this together), three of Portland's most important indie acts have new albums out currently (Stephen Malkmus had a great album last year and Modest Mouse has been recording) - and they are all very good.

The Shins, The Dandy Warhols, and M. Ward all have new albums and are currently touring. The Shins and M. Ward will both be at Sasquatch, The Dandy Warhols are playing what's sure to be a triumphant and spirited show at The Doug Fir on June 16. To tell you the truth, I'm not a huge Shins fan, nor am I a big fan of Broken Bells, his side project with Danger Mouse. He is good; just maybe a little too laid back for my taste (though I did like his "Insane Lullaby" from the Danger Mouse/Sparklehorse  (RIP) masterpiece Dark Night of The Soul). I didn't follow The Dandy Warhols during their heyday, but more recently have come to appreciate them (especially their folkie aspect, which came as a surprise) and now I'm totally ready for their comeback. M. Ward is a classic. Everything he does is good. 

And then there's Damon Albarn, he of Blur and Gorillaz fame, who seems to like having 13 projects going on at the same time. I can barely keep up with his truly massive output. He recently released Rocket Juice & The Moon by a supergroup featuring himself, Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen (who drummed for Fela), and Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Flea (who must have a soft spot in his heart for wayward Brits in L.A... He also plays with Radiohead's Thom Yorke in Atoms For Peace).

I've been a big reggae fan for years, and through reggae, discovered African music, especially the wonderful Fela and his sons Femi Kuti and Seun Kuti. And who knew (apparently everyone but me) that Damon Albarn had gone to Mali, hooked up with a bunch of talented locals, and released the amazing Mali Music back in 2002? if you missed it back then like i did, do yourself a favor and check it out now.

Been listening a lot recently to Rise Against because a friend is a big fan. I've often wondered how many lives have saved (literally) by their anti-bullying song "Make It Stop (September's Children)". It was written and recorded during a time when every week seemed to bring a fresh, new tragedy - a kid who killed themselves due to bullying because they were gay, perceived to be gay, or simply too weird or different for the comfort of the idiots who tortured them.

The song is a powerful indictment of bullying, includes a sad solemn list of several recent teen victims, and ends with a solid affirmation to "go on living".

Yeah people, stick with us. 


Every fucking last one of you. Stay with us. We'll make it together.

And too much blood has flown 
from the wrists,
Of the children shamed
for those they chose to kiss.
Who will rise to stop the blood?

...Tyler Clementi, age 18.
Billy Lucas, age 15.
Harrison Chase Brown, age 15
Cody J. Barker, age 17
Seth Walsh, age 13...


Make it stop,
Let this end.
This life chose me, I'm not lost in sin.
But proud I stand of who I am,
I plan to go on living.

See? It's not just "entertainment". We're talking life and death here...

Briefly Noted:

Didn't make it to Coachella 2012, but enjoyed watching some of the performances streaming, especially Jarvis Cocker and Pulp doing a dramatic version of their mega-classic "Common People". Coachella is kinda famous for such grand reunions, and one of the most anticipated performances was by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel. This is another one of those instances where, for whatever reason, I totally missed something I really should have heard and liked when it first came out. I heard the hype about the Jeff Mangum performance and decided to check out the two classic albums and voila! what do you know? Everyone was right. He is a genius.

SPIN Magazine released an excellent Coachella collection featuring many of the main acts at the festival.

Was able to get some great stuff this week, downloading digital versions of vinyl-only releases from Third Man Records' The Vault Vinyl Collection, feat Jeff The Brotherhood, unreleased White Stripes covers, and awesome remixes of Jack White songs by Beck, Josh Homme, and Mark Lanegan.

Tried a trial membership to Daytrotter recently and found excellent sessions by Wilco and New Multitudes (Yim Yames/Jim James, Jay Farrar, Anders Parker, and Will Johnson).

New cool singles: Ty Segall ("Wave Goodbye"), Yuck ("Chew"), The Hives ("Go Right Ahead"), Beck doing the standard "Corrina, Corrina" for a benefit disc, The Beach Boys ("That's Why God Made The Radio"), and Titus Andronicus (feat Amy Klein) doing "Oh Bondage! Up Yours!" on a tribute album for recently departed X-Ray Spex singer Poly Styrene.

Other cool new releases: an EP from Miles Kane and LP's from Andrew Bird and The Raconteurs' Brendan Benson.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy To Release New Versions of His Classics on an EP in July

Bonnie "Prince" Billy Announces New EP, Reissues

Laura Snapes
 on April 30, 2012 at 11:13 a.m.

Drag City and Domino will release Bonnie "Prince" Billy's Now Here's My Plan EP on July 23,  while a week later on June 30, Domino will reissue six Will Oldham records from between 1996 and 2004: Palace Brothers' 1996 Arise Therefore and 1997 Joya, and BPB's 1999 I See a Darkness, 2001 Ease Down the Road, 2003 Master and Everyone, and 2004 Greatest Palace Music. (Drag City will not release the reissues in the U.S.)
All of the reissues will be released under the Bonnie "Prince" Billy moniker, which is "now stable," according to a press release. They follow a series of Europe-only Palace reissues from earlier this year.
As previously announced, the Now Here's My Plan EP accompanies the book Will Oldham on Bonnie "Prince" Billy, out June 4 in the UK and due for publication in the U.S. in September. Recorded with members of the Wolfroy Goes to Town touring band, the EP is comprised of new versions of classic Oldham songs.
Check out the EP's tracklist below, and watch Bonnie "Prince" Billy perform "I See a Darkness":
Now Here's My Plan EP:
01 I Don't Belong to Anyone
02 Beast for Thee
03 No Gold Digger
4 After I Made Love to You
5 I See a Darkness
06 Three Questions

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Ty Segall Song "Wave Goodbye"

Need Proof That Jack White is the Coolest Dude Alive?

How is Jack White's Blue Period different from Picasso's? Discuss...

Jack White: How I Made 'Blunderbuss'

text size A A A
April 13, 2012
I want an album filled with surprise, with major shifts in style and fun, kick-ass fun. So after only one listen I knew that Jack White's new album, Blunderbuss, would become one of my favorites of the year. When I found out just before SXSW that I'd be able to talk with Jack White about making this new record, I was thrilled. Jack White and I have had a series of conversations over the past year or so about some of his quirkier projects for his label, Third Man Records. He's a guy who loves to talk about "process" and how things come to happen. It was with that in mind that we sat down to talk at the historic Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin, Texas, this time with video cameras rolling. We were both on very little sleep — SXSW will do that to you — but the conversation was free-flowing and candid and it was good to hear him so excited about this new music. Blunderbusscomes out April 24.
Interview Highlights:
All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen and Jack White in conversation at the historic Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas.
EnlargeLoren Wohl for NPR
All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen and Jack White in conversation at the historic Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas.
On words he hates
"When you put something out there into the world, there's all these words you don't want to hear, that you hope people don't say. I don't anything that starts with "re" — like retro, reinvent, recreate — I hate that. It's always like living in the past — copying, emulating. I hate the word "collaboration." It's like, if I produce a record with Tom Jones, I'm not collaborating with Tom Jones. It makes you think you're up in a cabin collaborating together. Anyways, I love when you hear different things from different people, then you know you're getting somewhere."
"All it takes is one girl"
"I learned with Allison Mossheart in The Dead Weather — it was hard to tell with The White Stripes— but with The Dead Weather all it takes is one girl. If you have twenty guys in the room and you just bring in one girl, you change the entire mood and everyone plays different. That's what happened in The Dead Weather and that's why I think we became such tight friends and we all wrote. The four of us wrote in that band, I think, because of her and her attitude."
Jack White in conversation with NPR.
EnlargeLoren Wohl for NPR
Jack White in conversation with NPR.
On being the boss
"I came up from growing up with a lot of Catholic guilt, a lot of punk rock, hipster guilt in the later years where I think people have thrown a lot of things on me. Where I always felt like I'm not supposed to tell the horn section what to play or I don't want to come off egotistical or like a control freak to tell a piano player to change the rhythm to waltz time now because it will make this thing happen. But now I'm in a position where I own the studio and the people who come in to work on music. They want to make something beautiful happen and somebody needs to direct it, and I feel like ... forget all that guilt."
Jack White.
EnlargeLoren Wohl for NPR
Jack White.
On choosing to go with a major label
"[Columbia's] history is amazing. They're the first record label. The very first. They invented the album. They've got an incredible history. So I always thought if I did a solo record it'd probably be a great idea to do it with them and I just hadn't done one 'til now. Some of my friends say, 'Why didn't you just put it out on Third Man? You have your own record label, just do it.' And I think the thing is about Third Man is that, yeah, we can put this thing out on iTunes and we can put things out on vinyl. We got those things fine. We can produce tons of them like that, but if you want to put out a million CDs and sell them and get them played on the radio, and even videos, or whatever, if that still exists, that kind of muscle can only come from a label like Columbia. And I really didn't want to do this album a disservice. I ain't got nothing to prove about being indie or anything like that."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

New Video from The Chapman Family - "This English Life"

...from their forthcoming EP Cruel Britannia coming out in June 2012 on Best Before Records...

Filmed by Dave Shaw and Paul Standing

New Video by illmaculate "Under Their Radar, Over Their Heads"

illmaculate, rap battler extraordinaire, the pint-sized pride of St. John's, North Portland, comes at us with a new joint "under their radar, over their heads"... it's more of a conventional hip hop song with less of the razor sharp wit & put-downs employed in the rap battles that made ill-mac world-famous.... "under their radar.." is a catchy song, the video was filmed partially at the branx in portland a few months back... here's hoping it brings ill-mac to a whole 'nother level!!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Live Streaming Video of Coachella Here Now....

... i was surprised Arctic Monkeys played so early on Friday (around 6:30 pm), but they played a strong set, leaning heavily on their early catchy stuff... as well as several newer songs and a REALLY cool version of the newish B-side "Evil Twin", closing with one of my favorite current jams "R U Mine?"...

they play Weekend 2 next weekend, then back to the arena tour with The Black Keys, coming to Portland in a few weeks....

Arctic Monkeys "R U Mine?" Live on "Conan"

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

New Music: Grand Duchy Sophomore Release; Frank Black & The Catholics Live at the Melkweg

Grand Duchy is a side project of Pixies frontman Black Francis/Frank Black and his wife Violet Clark.

Their second album Let The People Speak is coming out this week.

Their sound owes much to 80s synth pop, which is not my favorite type of music at all.

I have to say though, that some of the songs on this album, and several of the remixes (featured on Let The Prophet Speak) are really extraordinary and well-worth listening to, transcending the usual limits of the genre. Violet's vocals are playful and powerful at the same time.

Meanwhile, we also have a release by hubby Frank Black, a concert recorded with The Catholics at the iconic Amsterdam nightspot The Melkweg (Milky Way) in 2001.

It features a nice selection of Pixies songs as well as Frank Black solo songs from his entire career, especially the later (current at the time) Catholic albums, and an excellent version of Son House's "John the Revelator" to boot.

For years, no one thought The Pixies would reunite, but they did. Is it too much to ask for a Frank Black & The Catholics reunion tour? Love that pedal steel guitar....

Pitchfork: Morning Benders Change Name to Pop Etc.

Pop Etc Talk Name Change, New Album

Hear two new tracks from the band formerly known as the Morning Benders

Larry Fitzmaurice
 on April 9, 2012 at 12:00 p.m.

Pop Etc Talk Name Change, New Album
Photo by Michael Lavine
 Pop Etc: "Halfway to Heaven" (via SoundCloud)
A few things have changed for San Francisco indie pop band the Morning Benders. First off,they're not called the Morning Benders anymore. And even though they still consider themselves a San Francisco band, they've moved to Brooklyn, where they've been since shortly after the release of their 2010 breakthrough Big Echo. Bassist Tim Or amicably left the band, too-- which makes them a three-piece under the new name Pop Etc. Their self-titled debut under the freshly minted moniker is out on June 12 in the U.S. and a day before in the UK courtesy of Rough Trade. Check out two new tracks from the record, "Halfway to Heaven" (above) and "Everything Is Gone" (below).
The band ditched their old name because the term "bender" has homophobic connotations in the UK. But "Pop Etc" makes even more sense when you consider the band's drastic sonic switch on the new LP: the reverb-soaked guitars and golden harmonies of Big Echo are long gone, replaced with bright synths, high-octane pop melodies, and watery R&B reconfigurations. Although the group produced the album largely by themselves, they also brought aboard Danger Mouse and A-list studio man Andrew Dawson (Kanye WestLil Wayne) to offer behind-the-boards expertise. They're pretty serious about this whole pop thing.
We recently sat down with bandleader Chris Chu at a cafe in Williamsburg.
Pitchfork: What was your thought process as far as changing the band's name?
Chris Chu: The weight of our old name sunk in over time. We thought about it a lot, because in America "benders" obviously doesn't mean anything homophobic, and most of our fans are here. As time passed, though, we had people in the UK and Europe shouting stuff at shows and calling us fags. I'm not the kind of guy that would yell "don't say that" at someone on the street and cuss them out, but when it comes to our band name and the creative identity we want to align ourselves with, it was just getting to this point where we felt like "the Morning Benders" made us look like something we weren't. It's a coincidence, but there's a show in the UK called "The Inbetweeners", where the tagline is "Morning, benders!" I've never seen the show, but people would ask us if that reference was intentional or not, too.
Pitchfork: Were you worried that changing the name of your band might be a detriment to the band itself?
CC: It's really hard to get the word out about changing your name. Just the other day, we ran into someone on the street that said, "Hey, you guys are the Morning Benders, right?" We were like, "Yeah, but we changed our name." There are so many people out there who aren't tapped into this stuff on the internet, and may never find out. Everyone [at the label] went through the same thought process as us. They were like, "Shit, man. We just spent so much time getting the Morning Benders' name out there." But it just felt like we couldn't do anything else, and this was the time to do it.
"In the indie world, it's been a trend to obscure your message;
people over-use effects to cover up what they're trying to say.
To me, that feels really noncommittal."
Pitchfork: How has the general reaction to the name change been?
CC: When we first announced it, there was a lot of positive feedback. Some of the negative comments suggested that we "sold out," or that we were pressured by "the Man" or some bigger thing to change our name. In reality, though, our brand as the Morning Benders is obviously more valuable than a random new brand that no one's heard about. The idea that we didn't do it for our own reasons is just ridiculous.
People have also come out to say a lot of homophobic stuff, like, "Your new name is much gayer." That's just disgusting. When I see those comments, I feel empowered that this is why we had to do this-- to show people that it's not funny, that it's a problem, and it's detrimental to progress.
Pitchfork: Do you feel like those negative reactions are indicative of indie culture's attitude towards speaking out against homophobia as a whole?
CC: I wouldn't make any blanket statement about the scene, but there are bad people out there. There's a lot of different kinds of people that associate themselves with indie culture who don't always have views that align with your own. As Pop Etc, we want to bring together as many people as possible. In the indie world, it's been a trend to obscure your message-- it's happened more and more recently, with the whole lo-fi movement and rediscovery of reverb. People over-use effects to cover up what they're trying to say. To me, that feels really noncommittal. It's like pretending that you're apathetic about something, even if you care about it. It's about being afraid, really. That's the problem with the culture. There's not anyone that's just saying, "This is what I am, and here it is."
"When I was a kid, I liked Boyz II Men's II because it made me happy and sounded cool. Now, I think it's amazingly well-crafted music."
Pitchfork: The music you guys are making as Pop Etc is very different from what you were doing before.
CC: Definitely. Over the last few years, I rediscovered music that I loved from when I was a kid: Boyz II MenMadonnaCyndi Lauper. Boyz II Men's II was my first album, and I was immediately taken aback by how it felt very familiar and nostalgic, but also completely new. What's incredible is that there's a lot of music that I go back to now that I don't have the same response to. I'll listen to Green Day, but purely for nostalgia. However, listening to Boyz II Men was like, "Whoa!" There's this whole slew of stuff that went over my head when I was a kid. At the time, I liked it because it made me happy and it sounded cool. Now, I think it's really amazingly well-crafted music.
 Pop Etc: "Everything Is Gone" (via SoundCloud)
Pitchfork: Do you worry about how fans will receive the new material?
CC: It's something I struggle with a lot. We're just so grateful to have our fans. But in the end, I don't feel like I need to necessarily work to give them something that will please them. I can't really think about that. If I did, the results would be some watered-down attempt at "Excuses", or whatever it is that people want from me. I think people will connect with seeing artists that really believe in what they're doing and are excited about it. We've committed to our new sound, and we're not ashamed. We're not trying to sneak anything by anybody. We are what we are-- and, hopefully, you'll like it.

thissmallplanet/newmusictoday says: at first listen, i prefer the old guitar-oriented indie rock (and band name) of Morning Benders to the synth pop of Pop Etc.

...and changing the name because a few people in England shouted at their shows that they were "gender benders"? who cares? why give in to bullies?

oh well, all will be forgiven if you only go back to your guitars...