Thursday, December 27, 2007

Best Songs of 2007

We've done our favorite full-lengths and our favorite shows. Truth be told, we consume a lot more mp3s these days (Rockist sacrilege, I know) than complete albums. But songs have a life themselves and they're the most basic form of music consumption possible. I've always held the belief that one brilliant song can be as much of an achievement as anything else, and, frankly, that the Kingsmen should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame purely on the strength of "Louie Louie" alone. Maybe that's just me.


10. "Pearls on a String" - Ryan Adams. He might miss as often as he hits with little ditties like this, but he hits here with a damn purty one.

9. "Sleeping Lessons" - The Shins. An underwhelming third album that was still pretty good kicked off with this rousing opener.

8. "When You Were a Millionaire" - The Eames Era. The place in my heart for tight, girl-boy vocal, sugary indie pop is larger than I care to admit.

7. "Down in the Valley" - The Broken West. They could never quite muster the studio perfection of this choice little nugget onstage, but that shouldn't detract too much from the power pop gem of the year.

6. "Beautiful Machine, Parts 1-4" - The Apples in Stereo. Yes, it comprises two tracks and four parts, and neither track seems really related. But ol' Bob Schneider gave them the same name, and under that name he penned and recorded one of the best lysergically-infused song suites of his impressive career.

5. "Right or Wrong" - Sloan. Off an album of like fifty songs, there were a handful of real quality standouts. Of these standouts, there was only one contender for this list.

4. "Rotten Hell" - Menomena. Catchy little tune about "strangeholds" turns into a charging, uplifting coda, the best of the year.

3. "Dress Blues" - Jason Isbell. Easily the most poignant, heartbreaking song of the year in my book, and easily the best song written about the fallout of the war in Iraq. I've said it before, but if Tim McGraw records this, it goes platinum.

2. "(Antichrist Television Blues)" - The Arcade Fire. As far as subject matter goes, father-daughter songs about trying to honor Jesus by turning your little girl into a teen idol are few and far between. That's probably best, though Win Butler and his Canadian circus do wonders with the weirdest Springsteen song ever.

1. "The General Specific" - Band of Horses. Sometimes you just have to give it to the best tune. I personally find the almost-lazy, clanking percussion addictive (kinda like this tune), and twang-filled, pot-scented late afternoon groove just reeks of the band's move back down South.


When I think of the best songs of 2007, unlike G.H., I think of songs off of albums that were released in 2007, not 2006 (see his number 5). Not realizing that we would be doing this list, most of these songs are found on the Top 10 Albums post. My apologies for the redundancy.

10. "Ada" - The National. Even though it's not one of the more upbeat songs on the album, which I actually complained about, the piano and acoustic guitar tug at my heartstrings. Kind of like pandas.

9. "So It Goes" - The Broken West. When I got this album, I listened to this song at least 4 times in a row. As G.H. pointed out, TBW live don't completely live up to the album... except on this song.

8. "Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe" - Okkervil River. The dragging end of The Stage Names is a complete 180° from this song. At least they have one good one on there. Sorry guys...

7. "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" - Radiohead. While listening to this I anticipated a 2 measure break out, as in Kid A's "Morning Bell," but it never happened. And it's better for it.

6. "Champion" - Kanye West. The broken record style of the Steely Dan sample is so catchy, it's almost annoying. But not quite.

5. "Intervention" - The Arcade Fire. I can't believe I would love a song that reminds me of Catholics so much... just kidding Catholic friends.

4. "Closer At Hand" - Field Music. Have I talked about these guys before? Seriously, though. This is my favorite band discovered this year.

3. "Ode To LRC" - Band of Horses. The world IS a wonderful place.

2. "I'm Taking The Train Home" - The Twilight Sad. The power and emotion exuded in this song makes it impossible to keep off the list. My ears have never rang harder after hearing this song live.

1. "Islands On The Coast" - Band of Horses. What? 2 BoH songs? And 2 different BoH songs as number one? Holy crap. We must be getting paid by BoH. How many times can I say BoH in one post? The descending triplets that start off this song still give me shivers.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Do the Rockists even know its Christmas?

It's just turned Christmas day.  I'm done helping the folks stuff stockings and wrap a couple things for my sister and my aunt and uncle.  

Music's a big gift item around my house, and this year promises to be a good one.  Who knows what's coming my way, but among the albums I've purchased for others are Beirut - The Flying Club Cup, Nada Surf - Karmic EP, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Sirens of the Ditch.  

Anyway, Christmas Day is usually a day for spinning various new discs -- that first warm, late morning playing of Centro-matic's Love You Just the Same while watching the Blue-Gray game at decrepid Legion Field is still a very pleasant memory --  so I'll be reporting in the coming weeks with whatever loot I got coming.  

In the meantime, Happy Christmas to all our readers, and here are a couple treats for the road.

The Flaming Lips - "Christmas at the Zoo"

Oh, and if you're wondering, my top five rockin' Christmas songs are, in no particular order:
The Walkmen - Xmas Party
Centro-Matic - Fuselage (It's Starting to Look Like Christmas)
The Kinks - Father Christmas
Big Star - Jesus Christ 
The Shoes - This Christmas

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Best D.C. Shows of 2007

Our inaugural year as bloggers has taken us to numerous shows in the area with Sparks in hand. Here are our favorites.

Rob: It gets quite hard to remember all of the shows we attended. It could be that there were so many, but the booze is most likely the main factor. Here are my top 5, in some particular order.

5. Wilco - Merriweather Post Pavilion - 6/21/07

Two words: three encores

4. Lucero w/ Catfish Haven - Black Cat - 4/6/07

The end of a great week

3. The Twilight Sad - Rock and Roll Hotel - 10/1/07

Then GL and I drank Scotch... a lot of Scotch

2. Band of Horses - 9:30 Club - 11/2/07

The latest show I've been to in DC

1. The Long Winters w/ The Broken West - Rock and Roll Hotel - 4/3/07

The start of a great week


Between DCist and Rockist, I've never crammed so many shows into a single year. The really good news is that there were no bad ones really. But here are my five best:

5. The Polyphonic Spree - 9:30 Club - 7/1/07

The switch from white robes to black janitor suits matched the lyrical switch from bright suns to political protest, but the music was still grandiose and Tim DeLaughter still a first-rate bandleader.

4. The Whigs - Rock and Roll Hotel - 4/23/07

Chalk one up for blistering rock and roll. These guys played a no-frills hour long set to a meager audience on a Monday night that pretty much encompassed every single song they know. But when you play with this kind of heart, you don't really need too much more.

3. The Long Winters - Rock and Roll Hotel - 4/3/07

John Roderick and crew get points for the most crowd-pleasing set of the year, and double points for opening with a sardonic, but hilarious instrumental titled "Blues in E". Now that's irony.

2. Jason Isbell - Rock and Roll Hotel - 7/18/07

After leaving the DBT, no one knew how Isbell would fair on the road (or on record) with his new band, the 400 Unit. The results were exhilarating, the Truckers' arena-ready show brought back to its rock club roots.

1. Arcade Fire - DAR Constitution Hall - 5/4/07

The big, obvious one, perhaps, but undoubtedly the biggest spectacle, the most dramatic, the most dynamic, and, in the end, the one that'll stick with me the longest.


Helluva year, all told. I felt like I was either A) at a concert or B) hungover. You might say the two are somehow related. And you'd be right. Here are my top five shows/whiskey slugfests/hangovers/reasons to eat McDonald's breakfast of the year:

5. David Vandervelde - Black Cat - 4/19/07

There's no way GH and I weren't the drunkest two people at this one.

4. Asobi Seksu - Rock and Roll Hotel - 1/19/07

Great for a number of reasons. We somehow finagled a way to get in despite it being sold out. Our friend Jason successfully defended some chick's honor. It was the loudest show I think I've ever been to. At least until...

3. Twilight Sad - Rock and Roll Hotel - 10/1/07

Really really great. Don't know what else to say.

2. Long Winters - Rock and Roll Hotel - 4/3/07

Like GH mentioned, John Roderick is the ultimate showman. Equal parts stand up comedy and rock show.

1. Arcade Fire - DAR Constitution Hall - 5/4/07

Terrific concert from one indie rock's biggest bands. They delivered not only musically, but also in putting on a great, big show.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

We told you to watch out for them.

So, the Gummys came out today. And, to no surprise of us, Rockists favorite The XYZ Affair made a showing placing 26th in the Best Video category, above many indie-rock powerhouses like Ted Leo, THS, Menomena, Spoon and The New Pornographers. Congrats to them. We'll show it again for good measure.

The XYZ Affair - "All My Friends"

Stay tuned for info on their big tour coming up next year.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Let The Lists Begin! - Top Ten Albums


Here are my top 10 albums of the year. I'm not going to lie, I thought it was a pretty good year for music.

10. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Spoon - "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb"

9. Radiohead - In Rainbows
Radiohead - "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi"

8. The National - Boxer
The National - "Apartment Story"

7. Georgie James - Places
Georgie James - "More Lights"

6. Kanye West - Graduation
Kanye West - "Flashing Lights (Ft. Dwele)"

5. Metric - Grow Up And Blow Away
Metric - "Soft Rock Star (Jimmy Vs. Joe Mix)"

4. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Arcade Fire - "Intervention"

3. The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters
The Twilight Sad - "Mapped By What Surrounded Them"

2. Field Music - Tones of Town
Field Music - "Closer At Hand"

1. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
Band of Horses - "Islands on the Coast"


Here are mine. I liked this year, but not as much as 1967 or 1978. That's why I only have five. It might also be because I don't listen to hip-hop or anything.

5. Menomena - Friend and Foe

4. Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Okkervil River - "Unless it Kicks"

3. Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch
Jason Isbell - "Grown"

2. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

1. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

G. L.:

Pretty decent year all around, I thought. Here are my picks:

10. Figurines - When the Deer Wore Blue
The Figurines - "The Air We Breathe"

9. Blitzen Trapper - Wild Mountain Nation
Blitzen Trapper - "Wild Mountain Nation"

8. Kanye West - Graduation

7. David Vandervelde - The Moonstation House Band
David Vandervelde - "Jacket"

6. The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters
The Twilight Sad - "That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy"

5. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
Band of Horses - "Cigarettes, Wedding Bands"

4. Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
Ryan Adams - "Goodnight Rose"

3. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Spoon - "The Underdog"

2. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Arcade Fire - "No Cars Go"

1. Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Okkervil River - "Plus Ones"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Led Zeppelin to play Bonnaroo?

We don't like gossip, we don't like those who gossip, and we don't like to talk about those that gossip.

But when we get word that some Rockist legends are getting back together (relax folks, it's not the Bigger Lovers), Rockist Commandments state that thou must share the information.

So it looks like Led Zeppelin -- and not this Page and Plant crap -- will be reuniting and playing at Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN this summer. It's still a rumor, but it's on Billboard, so it must be good. On second thought, Josh Groban's on Billboard too so... well, nevermind. The report's here. I guess Metallica is rumored to be there too, but I'm not really too worked up about that. If we hear anything else, we'll keep you posted.

Monday, December 3, 2007

You raise me up

GL and I meandered through New York City this weekend. Lo and behold, at a crappy bar ($4 PBRs?) is Josh Groban. Yes, THE Josh Groban.

Nice guy, bad music.


UPDATE: for all the fans out there...
Josh Groban - "You Raise Me Up"

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Neil Young @ D.A.R. Constitution Hall

As happens so often, I meant to blog the hell out of a great 5 day span that occurred just before Thanksgiving.
Originally, we (The Rockists and our fans) had planned to catch the Aqueduct/Georgie James double bill at the Black Cat on Friday, Nov. 16. Then we were all gonna go see Art Brut and the Hold Steady on the NME Rockin' Riot Tour or whatever it was called the next Tuesday. But G.L. and Rob failed to procure tickets for the latter, and I was surprised at the very last minute ("minute" being the operative word) with tickets to the incredibly-expensive Neil Young show at D.A.R. Constitution Hall that Thursday.

After getting the message that a ticket -- a $157 ticket, mind you -- was waiting for me (on behalf of the DCist, where I wrote a full, more professional review than you'll find here) merely ten minutes before show time, I threw on some jeans, grabbed my crutches, hobbled down to Penn Ave, and hailed a cab. I got there to discover Neil's wife Pegi was actually opening up. Very forgettable. Dad Rock for dads whose good taste left them years ago, and who now only want to hear soothing alt-country ditties by gracefully-ageing, somewhat earthy women. But seriously, it wasn't all that bad, just not all that good either.

Neil on the other hand was Neil: odd, eclectic, and shakey as ever. He opened with a solo acoustic set which covered a surprising number of totally unreleased songs written 30 years ago, and then came back to whip up some guitar fury with a band of his closest buddies. The new material off Chrome Dreams II isn't great or anything -- though "Dirty Old Man" was hilarious -- but scattered throughout the set it wasn't a letdown either. All in all, a hell of a show from my favorite solo performer of all time.

Here's the setlist:

Neil Young at D.A.R. Constitution Hall 11/15/07
From Hank To Hendrix / Ambulance Blues / Sad Movies / A Man Needs A Maid / No One Seems To Know / Harvest / Try / Mellow My Mind / Love Art Blues / Cowgirl In The Sand / Heart Of Gold // The Loner / Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere / Dirty Old Man / Spirit Road / Bad Fog Of Loneliness / Winterlong / Oh, Lonesome Me / The Believer / No Hidden Path // Cinnamon Girl / Like A Hurricane

*He also played the next night at DAR too. Setlist here.

And just for fun, a TRS favorite covering a classic Neil cut:

Okkervil River - "Mellow My Mind"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

This Week in Video: Two for Wednesday Edition

On the same theme as GHC's post earlier, Ween was just in Baltimore. Unfortunately, all us Rockists were in our respective home towns for the holiday. I've uncovered some pretty good video of the show online. This should be a PSA.

Ween - "Don't Shit Where You Eat"

And for numero dos (although not from the show).

Ween - "Even If You Don't"

Indie's favorite lo-fi punk band just came out with a new video. There's some fantastic green screen timing. You can't help but want to be involved in the shoot.

The Thermals - "Returning to the Fold"

Here's the first video from The Body The Blood The Machine. I can learn keys, Hutch! I wanna be in the band.

The Thermals - "A Pillar of Salt"

Following the breakup of our favorite band (take a guess), GHC followed the drummer to Pernice Brothers, who were the entertainment for the first TRS listening party. In memory of that day, here are two videos from Live a Little.

Pernice Brothers - "PCH One"

If only I had this balance... sober.

Pernice Brothers - "Somerville"

Color us brown...

Ween has announced a Southeastern US tour, including a stop at DC's venerable D.A.R. Constitution Hall -- site of a number of quintessentially rockist outings -- on January 23, 2008.

Tickets aren't on sale yet, but their new album, La Cucaracha, is. In a recent interview with the AV Club, Dean Ween made it sound like the troubles of the past few years (when a tour was cancelled for unspecified personal reasons) are past them for the time being. Which probably just means they're not huffing glue when they wake up in the morning, which is definitely a good thing (for evidence, see The Pod). Either way, Ween playing on the hallowed and stuffy ground of the Daughters of the American Revolution? There's enormous potential there.

Save the date.
Ween - "Sweetheart" (from La Cucaracha)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Viva Voce Re-Release Second, Third Albums; Pacakge Them Together

This tidbit really made my day: Portland's Viva Voce have just made their second and third albums, Lovers Lead the Way and The Heat Can Melt Your Brain, respectively, available in one special 2xCD set, released via the band's own Amore! Phonics label. Included also are the requisite bonus tracks - unreleased material, demos, and KEXP live performances.

You may be familiar with Kevin and Anita Robinson from last year's terrific Get Yr Blood Sucked Out or from their recent supporting tour with The Shins. I've known about them for quite some time now, having seen them a couple times at my college's campus rock club, but that's neither here nor there. The point is that if you're a fan of lushly layered indie pop, then you'd do well to go out and pick up this nifty little set.

Viva Voce - "Fashionably Lonely"
Viva Voce - "Alive With Pleasure"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thank You

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, we at The Rockist Society would like to extend a hearty 'thank you' to our loyal readers. We really enjoy ourselves on this here blog and it's you all that make it so worthwhile. Also, special thanks to The Bigger Lovers, The Hold Steady, The XYZ Affair and David Vandervelde for allowing us to write almost exclusively about them.

Please note that we'll be shutting down TRS headquarters for the holiday and will return next week to regale you all the witty banter, insightful commentary, and astute observations you've come to know and love.

Big Star - "Thank You Friends"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Rockists Dissect Blender's 100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums

We spent a little time this afternoon discussing the merits of and issues with Blender Magazine's list of the top 100 Albums in Indie Rock, released on the occasion of indie rock's "25th Birthday". Now we share those thoughts with you:

G.H.: The commenters on Stereogum are naturally up in arms over the list, but it's not as bad as it could be. Remember folks -- this is Blender we're talking about, literally the least-possible common denominator in music journalism. I would've expected much worse. Ultimately, I think their top ten is accurate but maybe should be re-ordered, and I'd probably sub out Spoon's Kill the Moonlight for Gimme Fiction. But now to the gross injustices. Green Day's Kerplunk? Ker-puh-lease. Nick Drake's Pink Moon? How could an album so obviously not indie-rock be construed as one of the greatest indie rock releases ever? If you're going to play the lifetime achievement/major influence card, then shouldn't Television's Marquee Moon be there? Also, for my money, this list hews too closely to a best of the past five years. Are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs one of the best ever groups in indie rock? I'm beginning to remember why we started this blog in the first place. But seriously, here's my top ten (attempting to define indie-rock in the same but vague way as Blender has): Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted, Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, The Replacements - Let it Be, Big Star - Third/Sister Lovers, The Hold Steady - Almost Killed Me, Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Built to Spill - Keep It Like a Secret, Tripping Daisy - Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb, The Drive-By Truckers - The Dirty South, My Bloody Valentine - Loveless, The Olivia Tremor Control - Dusk at the Cubist Castle.

G.L.: I guess my biggest problem with this list is that they seem to pretty loosely define indie rock. There are inclusions that are definitely not "indie" - Is This It, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, and Franz Ferdinand. There are albums that are not "rock" - the aforementioned Pink Moon and 3 Feet High and Rising. And then there are Arular and The Reminder, which are not really "indie" or "rock". Perhaps that's just typical rockist nitpicking and maybe a bit unfair since, as GH mentioned, this is Blender we're talking about -not exactly the most revered publication ever (at all?). Hating aside, there are some pretty great albums here and you'd probably have a tough time arguing that 75 out of 100 of these albums don't absolutely belong on this or a similar list. For me, some notable and surprising exclusions would have to be The Stone Roses (probably in my top 15) and Psychocandy. Most treasonous act of all though? Putting In the Aeroplane Over the Sea anywhere outside of the top 10, not to mention below the likes of White Blood Cells, Mass Romantic, and Arular. See the full list below:

Rob: Just a couple quick notes. I have a hard time believing that Franz Ferdinand, Art Brut and The Arctic Monkeys deserve to have albums on here. I'm not going to lie, there are a few albums here that I have never heard, so I can't pass judgment on all of the listings, but based on what I hear, Le Tigre sucks. It was nice seeing my favorite band for the last 14 years in the top 5. I was also quite surprised to see 2 Hüsker Dü albums on here (although I think Zen Arcade should be placed above The Funeral). I'm a big Bob Mould fan, but instead of New Day Rising, I would have included Sugar's Copper Blue (which, by some people's standards, wouldn't be classified as indie-rock, but then, some people would argue that 10% of these bands also shouldn't be in the same category.) Oh, and where the hell is Broken Social Scene? There is no way that YYYs should be at 37 (even though I do like them) with no mention of You Forgot it in People. I guess TRS thinks alike: NMH should be in the top 10.

100 The Shaggs - Philosophy Of The World
99 Dream Syndicate - The Days Of Wine And Roses
98 Palace Music - Viva Last Blues
97 The Mekons - Rock 'N' Roll
96 TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
95 The Dismemberment Plan - Emergency & I
94 Half Japanese - Greatest Hits
93 Big Black - Atomizer
92 Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
91 The Chills - Kaleidoscope World
90 Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
89 Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll
88 Daniel Johnston - Yip/Jump Music
87 Wolf Parade - Apologies To The Queen Mary
86 Flipper - Album - Generic Flipper
85 The Clean - Anthology
84 Beat Happening - You Turn Me On
83 The Misfits - Walk Among Us
82 The Embarrassment - Heyday 1979-83
81 The Vaselines - The Way Of The Vaselines
80 Feist - The Reminder
79 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
78 The 13th Floor Elevators - The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators
77 Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
76 Le Tigre - Le Tigre
75 Galaxie 500 - Today
74 The Fall - 50,000 Fall Fans Can't Be Wrong
73 Meat Puppets - Up On The Sun
72 The Mountain Goats - We Shall All Be Healed
71 Stereolab - Refried Ectoplasm
70 Mudhoney - Superfruzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles
69 Nick Drake - Pink Moon
68 Descendents - Milo Goes To College
67 Hüsker Dü - New Day Rising
66 Young Marble Giants - Colossal Youth
65 Various Artists - No New York
64 Cat Power - The Greatest
63 Nirvana - Bleach
62 The Feelies - Crazy Rhythms
61 LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
60 Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
59 Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
58 Built To Spill - There's Nothing Wrong With Love
57 Bikini Kill - Pussy Whipped
56 Archers Of Loaf - Icky Mettle
55 Bad Brains - Bad Brains
54 Unrest - Imperial F.F.R.R.
53 Smashing Pumpkins - Gish
52 Bright Eyes - Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground
51 Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights
50 Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous
49 Spoon - Kill The Moonlight
48 Mission Of Burma - Vs.
47 Green Day - Kerplunk
46 Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
45 Fugazi - Repeater
44 Various Artists - Wanna Buy A Bridge?
43 Black Flag - Damaged
42 Brian Eno - Another Green World
41 Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West
40 New Order - Power Corruption & Lies
39 Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
38 The Strokes - Is This It
37 Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell
36 Elliott Smith - Either/Or
35 Liz Phair - Exile In Guyville
34 Superchunk - On The Mouth
33 The Shins - Oh, Inverted World
32 Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
31 Guided By Voices - Bee Thousand
30 Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
29 Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
28 The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs
27 M.I.A. - Arular
26 Belle And Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister
25 Sebadoh - III
24 The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic
23 Yo La Tengo - Painful
22 Meat Puppets - Meat Puppets II
21 The Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers
20 The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday
19 Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out
18 Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
17 The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
16 Slint - Spiderland
15 X - Wild Gift
14 De La Soul - 3 Feet High And Rising
13 Hüsker Dü - Zen Arcade
12 Dinosaur Jr - You're Living All Over Me
11 Minutemen - Double Nickels On The Dime
10 The Smiths - The Smiths
09 Big Star - Third/Sister Lovers
08 My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
07 The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground
06 Arcade Fire - Funeral
05 Pixies - Surfer Rosa
04 R.E.M. - Murmur
03 The Replacements - Let It Be
02 Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
01 Pavement - Slanted And Enchanted

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Update: This Week in Video: Return of This Week in Video Edition

Welcome back.

Vampire Weekend just released their first ever video, "Mansard Roof." Listening to these self proclaimed specialists in "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa", "Upper West Side Soweto", "Campus", and "Oxford Comma Riddim" reminds me of summering at the Water Gap.

Vampire Weekend - "Mansard Roof"

Although this video is old, I'm sure you've heard the song recently. I've never wanted to make out with a phone so badly.

Cansei De Ser Sexy - "Music Is My Hot, Hot Sex"

One of the best shows of the fall. Well, other than Illinois... they annoyed the piss out of me.

Menomena - "Evil Bee"

If you have 10 minutes to spare, check this one out. Then head to 9:30 on Sunday to catch BSS play Kevin Drew's stuff.

Broken Social Scene (KD) - "It's All Gonna Break"
Metro Chicago - 11.03.2007

Update: I can't believe I missed this one.

A brief note on the reissue of Beatles albums

Went on a road trip this weekend down to the Outer Banks, North Carolina to cheer on my girlfriend in the OBX Marathon (she did great).

Road trips -- well-documented in this blog -- provide the perfect opportunity for, err, road-testing new Rockist material. But for whatever reason, we spent a lot of time flitting back and forth between (country) radio stations rather than spinning the latest Radiohead or the new I'm Not There soundtrack that GL so graciously gifted me last week.

And for whatever reason, when it did come time to spin things, the only thing I felt like listening to was the Beatles' Let it Be... Naked, a disc I've had for maybe 4 years and played barely as many times. Why? As a fan, you've got to have morals, and Sir Paul's constant revisionism of Beatles' history really got to me at the time. It also kinda pissed me off that they released it as a double-disc set with that stupid "Fly on the Wall" thing -- like 20 minutes of chatter. I loved hearing it, but come on -- how about releasing Michael Lindsay-Hogg's film Let it Be on DVD or something? While we're in the process of shelling out for the same songs all over again (I must have the title track on 4 or 5 different discs at this point), how about giving us some new materail worth coughing up for?

Those are the reasons I did not listen to it. I am now willing to admit error. This -- in my humble rockist opinion, the weakest entry in the band's catalog -- sounds great as a cleaned-up reissue. It sounds like a rock and roll album. I never liked "For You Blue" -- if Harrison had all those great songs lined up for his solo debut, couldn't he have spared one for this album instead -- but it sure sounds a thousand times crisper and cleaner here. Also, "Don't Let Me Down" is one of Lennon's most desperate performances, and it deserves to be on record somewhere. And "I've Got a Feeling" returns to stake a claim for its place besides the other hundred Beatles' cuts permanently stuck in classic rock radio rotation.

I'm still not over Paul insisting on releasing the "real" Let It Be. But I am now in favor of re-releasing them all, remastered and given the proper 21st century treatment -- the same treatment given to hundreds of less-deserving albums from inferior bands of the same period.

Friday, November 9, 2007

A Rockist Goes to Washinton, Part IV: "I'm not a Rockist, I just play one on TV."

Usually, we Rockists don't like to show our faces or likenesses, (it's not about us, it's about the music) but this is too good.

Today, I was just hanging out in the loading dock of Postal Square, waiting to head underground, when I noticed Tom Cavanagh, TV star, hopping out of a Volvo. Here's how the conversation went.*
Rob: Tom?
Tom: Yeah.
Rob: Holy crap, Tom Cavanagh. I just saw you last night on Scrubs.
Tom: Oh yeah? I actually missed the episode, how was it?
Rob: It was good. Not as sappy as the new ones have been, which is a good thing.
Tom: Let me ask you, at the end, did J.D. and I have a conversation in the Prius that was like "How do I start this thing?" "You push the button... No, that's the windshield wipers... No, that's the parking brake..."?
Rob: Ummm, I don't think so.
Tom: Dang, that was my favorite part.
Rob: Sounds funny.
Tom: Hey, I like your outfit... where can I get one?
Rob: Thanks. I don't think you want one. Hey, can I get a picture?
Tom: Sure thing.
(I rummage through my tool bag and pull out a camera)
Tom: Oh, you just carry one of those around with you?
Rob: Well, you do when you're an inspector.
Tom: Ah, I see. Wow, nice camera.
Rob: Thanks, it's water and shock proof.
Tom: Cool. I'm Tom.
Rob: Nice to meet you. Rob.
Tom: Well, thanks! Have a good one, man. It was nice meeting you.
Rob: Thanks, same here.
(We part ways)

Half way through reading the conversation, you're probably wondering what this has to do with TRS and why Rob is so boring. I don't have an answer for the latter, but the former is quite simple. Cavanagh, who starred in Ed and plays a recurring roll on Scrubs, played Tom Farrell on the well reviewed, but not well received, Love Monkey. The character is a record exec who was canned from a Warner Bros sized label named Goliath and joined True Vinyl, an indie record label. Now, I don't know who came up with those names, but all I can say is... genius.

Although the show only lasted 3 episodes before CBS yanked it, there are 8 total episodes that were produced. If you want to see how a huge media company makes TV shows about, well, huge media companies, check out the first episode on Innertube. I hear they have plans on putting the other 7 shows up in the future, which I'm sure is music to G.L.'s ears.

I have no idea what Cavanagh was doing in Postal Square, or the loading dock for that matter. He was probably trying to sneak into the building without getting noticed... little did he know he'd meet a Rockist.

*This isn't an exact account, more of a general recollection. The conversation lasted longer than this. I actually made most of the dialect up but the themes are true.

A compilation: McSweeney's Rockist-oriented lists

For fun I thought I'd throw together a bunch of McSweeney's rockist-oriented lists, and quote my favorites from each one. It's a slow, drizzly Friday here in Old Town, I'm still not moving too much after knee surgery, so why the hell not. There are a thousand of these things, so feel free to stick your favorite rockist-oriented list links in the comments.

Progressive Rock Fans are Terrible Trash-Talkers
("You're gonna need so many transfusions that only King Crimson will have benefited more by the influx of new blood. Seriously, don't you think it was like a whole new band when Adrian Belew joined?")

The Songs of Lenin and McCarthy
(Lenin: "All You Need is State")

Ways I've Let Down Popular Musicians
("Got together with only a few people, made no effort to love one another, received awkward phone call from the Youngbloods. ")

My Nonprofit R&B Group's Setlist
("I Wanna Name a Park After U")

Titles of Songs From Pet Sounds,Translated In and Out of Japanese by GoogleTranslate
("You Know God Simply")

If the Beatles Were Born Today

Band Names Rejected by the Smashing Pumpkins
("Drinking Schnapps")

Bruce Springsteen Songs, If the Title More Accurately Reflected the Subject Matter
("You Were Once Attractive, but I Have Grown Weary of Your Company, Even Though I Have Not Forgotten That Previously We Had a Meaningful and Romantic Courtship")

Brian Wilson's First Five Suggestionsfor the Name of the Album That Would Be Called Pet Sounds

Song Ideas for My Next Album
("A song about a really cool chick and how she turns me on")

Disingenuous Reasons for Band Names ('70s Edition)
("AC/DCConnotes power. Found on back of guitarist's sister's sewing machine")

Information Leafblower mastermind Kyle pointed out to me that I missed one of the best:

Song Titles, Before Editing forLanguage Efficiency and Clarity
("Baby, You Hit Me Once, and When You Did, All I Could Think Was That I Would Relish Your Doing It Once More")

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Band of Horses Setlist (edited) - 9:30 Club - 11.2.2007

Note: Thanks to mysterygirl! for setting me straight.

A small Rockist follower and I attended the Friday night late show at 9:30. Never in DC have I (purposefully) seen such a late show.

The sound, superb. The setlist, well, see for yourself. The highlight of the evening was at 2:20a when they broke out Them Two's "Am I a Good Man." Who knew a Seattle/SC band could do soul so well? Ryan Monroe, keys/backup vocals, who was on the whole night, finally getting a chance to shine while singing the response in the closer. Check out the original on Numero Group's Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label, or below.

Monsters / The First Song / Is There a Ghost / The Great Salt Lake / Islands on the Coast / Marry Song / The General Specific / Wicked Gil / Ode to LRC / The Funeral / Part One // Our Swords / Wicked Gil (half tempo) / Am I A Good Man (
Them Two cover)

Them Two - "Am I A Good Man"

Band of Horses - "The General Specific"

Monday, November 5, 2007

Charlotte Gainsbourg & Calexico: "Just Like A Woman"

Last week I picked up the soundtrack to the new Bob Dylan biopic, I'm Not There, and I just wanted to take a second to get a few songs out to the Rockist faithful and finally let you know if it's cool or not. And it is quite cool. First off, there are over thirty Zimmy covers by some of indie rock's most revered acts - Stephen Malkmus, Sonic Youth, Cat Power, etc... Somewhat surprisingly, though in a good way, this doesn't play as a greatest hits collection - no "Blowin' in the Wind", no "Like a Rolling Stone", no "Masters of War". The title song is a good indication of the type of songs found here, as it was an unreleased outtake from the Basement Tapes (!). This is what us Rockists live for.

To be honest, Charlotte Gainsbourg's cover of "Just Like A Woman" probably isn't my favorite song on the album. Probably not even in the top 10. But when you get a chance to post a picture and talk about Charlotte Gainsbourg, you take it. You take it. Seriously, have you seen Science of Sleep?! If you haven't, do it now, and thank me later.

That's not to say her cover is bad, but it doesn't really stray too much from the original. And her breathy delivery feels a little forced at times. Perhaps it's a French thing, I don't know. Ooh, that makes me think, though - what if she had sung it in French?!?! Oh man, that would've been awesome. Of course I would've exploded. From all the sexiness.

Calexico as the backing band was a good choice though.

I've also posted The Hold Steady's version of "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?" Which, if you've heard the orignial song and anything by The Hold Steady, then you'll know EXACTLY how this will sound. And that's quite alright by us.

Charlotte Gainsbourg & Calexico - "Just Like A Woman"

The Hold Steady - "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Should Have Taken the Spread

GL and I took a few hours out of our gluttonous Sunday of Taco Bell and Guitar Hero III to check out a band... I don’t know if you’ve heard of them. They like Nickelodeon. They’re called The XYZ Affair. We’ve mentioned them once or thrice before.

Rocking the night in front of a crowd of... well, what are numbers anyway? Let’s not quantify the night. It’s all about qualification here at TRS.

Recounting a conversation with Bones (bass) that night, I’m surprised the Complement (van) actually survived the trip to DC (via Philly). Next time you see him, ask how the drive down was.

The set list (pictured) confused me, and not because of the defecation. Maybe it was the 40, or the Sparks, or the PBRs (I swear I wasn’t drunk... it was a Sunday night for crying out loud), but I don't remember XYZ playing "A Little Lye" or “Good To Know But Hard To Tell” (which I didn’t even know was a song; they have an EP of the same name) on Sunday night. The encore, “Hello Hello Hello”, was also not played, but it was getting late. Quite late. On a school night.

The new stuff sounds good. XYZ pulled out the older one of the two, “Trial”, at Dcist’s last Unbuckled show. The newest song, “Sarah”, is fantastic. (By the way, I don’t know the real titles of the new stuff. I’m just going off of the set list. Yep, mailing it in.)

All in all, a good show, as expected. The sound was the best I’ve heard in the 5 shows attended. It was also nice to see a fan (besides the Rockists and friends) singing along to all of their songs.

Spoon @ 9:30 Club

Two of three Rockists ventured to the 9:30 Club to catch Spoon's scheduled-cancelled-tentatively rescheduled-then-officially rescheduled set on Tuesday. We braved the insanity that was trying to simply hang on to previously legitimately purchased tickets. I had predicted it would be a total cluster-you-know-what, and it wasn't. It was actually not even sold out. Quite roomy inside, but enough of a crowd to feel full and substantial.

Perhaps because of the absurd ticketing procedures, Spoon maybe figured that only folks who really wanted to see the band would be there. So they ran through a chronologically-oriented set that began with "If You Say So" from Soft Effects and the short, spastic "Utilitarian" from my favorite, the short, spastic A Series of Sneaks. They ran through big chunks of Girls Can Tell, hitting the biggies ("Anything You Want", "Fitted Shirt", "Me and the Bean") and delivering a searing performance of "Small Stakes" that could've/should've gone on another 3 minutes. But Spoon are the rare band that can spend an entire song building tension, then never quite give you the release you're looking for, and "Small Stakes" teased around its menacing, conniving little keyboard riff before Britt Daniel did his version of a guitar solo (stabbing at a guitar, pointing it towards the amp). We were left practically begging for a second go at it, one more round of verse/chorus/guitar-squal/yelp (an audience member even yelled "play that one again!"), but, hey, that's Spoon.

"The Way We Get By" followed, and there wasn't quite the eruption there usually is for this song. I'm thinking this points to an audience of more serious fans, more excited about, say, an all acoustic version of "Reservations" than the band's biggest hit. It was good anyway. Also good? Pretty much the whole show, but "I Summon You" was the standout. Had to be one of Britt's best vocal performances ever, earnest but vague emotion laid bare over that melancholy strum and bass drum thump.

The new material fared well, with Spoon joined by their version of the Horns of Plenty. "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb" was triumphant, more so than "The Underdog", which, to my ears, actually sounds better on radio (in a good way). They came back and did a couple encores, including a welcome and spirited version of "Japanese Cigarette Case", one of my favorites off the latest. They did "I Turn My Camera On" -- the first step backwards in what had been a linear progression of the band's career in the setlist -- to much applause, and finally the obligatory "My Mathematical Mind". It seems to have become their go-to closer, and for good reason. It covers the taut construction, jagged guitar "solos", and vague but ominous lyrics ("Gonna see the stakes! Gonna ride the brakes!") that's become the band's trademark.

Unfortunately, there was no "Sister Jack", which I alternately describe as the greatest power pop song of the past decade (GL doesn't seem to think it's power pop, which is complete nonsense) and as the chord progression chemically/physically proven to induce the greatest endorphin release/involuntary air guitar down-strumming. But they didn't play it. Just a side note there.

SETLIST: If You Say So / Utilitarian / Minor Tough / Fitted Shirt / Anything You Want / Me and the Bean / Small Stakes / The Way We Get By / Stay Don't Go / Jonathan Fisk / Back to the Life / The Beast and Dragon, Adored / The Delicate Place / I Summon You / Don't Make Me a Target / The Ghost of You Lingers / You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb / The Underdog / Black Like Me // Japanese Cigarette Case / Peace Like a River (Paul Simon) / I Turn My Camera On / Don't You Evah // Rhythm and Soul / My Mathematical Mind

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Rockists Say, "Screw You, Eardrums!", See 4 Shows In 5 Days

It's that time again where The Rockist Society throws caution to the wind, eschews logic and rational thought, and puts themselves DIRECTLY in harms way. That's right folks, your favorite, albeit infrequently updated, music blog will attempt to see 4 shows in a mere 5 days. Yes, we're totally nuts, but thankfully we've done it once before.

Here's the who, what, when, where, and why of our 5-day Rock Block:

Saturday, 10.27.2007: First up on the schedule is The Broken West and The Whigs at the Rock and Roll Hotel. We've seen The Broken West a number of times before, so we kinda know what to expect - well-crafted power pop tunes in the vein of The Bigger Lovers, New Pornographers, and Big Star (obvs).

We've also seen The Whigs before, coincidentally during our previous 4-shows-in-5-days run. They're one of those bands whose album you like well enough, but then you see them live and you drunkenly declare them the greatest band alive. Trust me. The RnR Hotel really missed a golden opportunity by not naming this night "Jangle Fest 2007", but it'll still be awesome nonetheless.

Sunday, 10.28.2007: On Rockist Odyssey Day Two we see the return of our good friends The XYZ Affair. If you've ever read this blog before, then you know how much we love their brand of disjointed pop awesomeness. They're at the venue we love to hate, The Black Cat (backstage). Again, not to be missed.

Monday, 10.29.2007:
With no show tonight, you'd probably think that we'd be resting up, drinking warm milk in our jammies, and trying to stain stick the rock sauce out of our favorite jeans. But, nope, we'll be playing the recently released Guitar Hero III: The Legends of Rock all. night. long. Expect plenty of Sparks and more high fives than the five year reunion of Delta Tau Chi.

Tuesday, 10.30.2007: For me, this is the show I'll be looking forward to the most - Ryan Adams and The Cardinals at DAR Constitution Hall. His latest release, Easy Tiger, has been on infinite repeat at TRS headquarters lately and we can't wait to see Ry-Ry and Co. tear 'em up live. Should be the perfect mix of heartfelt folkiness, pitch-perfect pop, and (let's hope) some extended guitar workouts. Also, look for a rather inspired rendition of "Halloweenhead", for obvious reasons...

Wednesday, 10.31.2007: The last show of the run, but certainly not the least. Tonight we see Bobby Bare Jr. and Lucero take the mainstage at the Black Cat. We saw Lucero a few months back and were thoroughly impressed with their alt/punk/country leanings. We'll be running on fumes and whiskey, but mostly fumes (and whiskey), so don't be surprised if you see us passed out somewhere on 14th Street. And don't be surprised if you see someone in a Sexy Neil Young costume. That'll be GH.

The Whigs - "Violet Furs"
Ryan Adams - "Pearls on a String"
Viva Voce - "We Do Not Fuck Around" (and, ahem, neither do The Rockists)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Rockist Goes to Washington, Part III

Ever with our blistered fingers on the pulse of both the nation's capital and the indie/classic rock cognoscenti, we bring you the latest developments in Rockists exerting their influence over the federal government.

Actually, Pitchfork brings it to you. Today they ran a post announcing that Superchunk/Portastatic frontman and Merge Records co-founder Mac McCaughan testified yesterday at a Senate hearing on "The Future of Radio". The hearing was held by the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. In his testimony, he talks a lot about the power of college radio, indie stations, etc, and the influence they had on his bands and the multitude of other bands we all know and love. He goes on to say that he probably wouldn't be here without exposure to college radio, and to that we add a hearty "here here".

But all this actually upset us personally because we all live within close proximity of the Capitol, and -- I think I speak for all of us when I say this -- we would've been more than happy to have ol' Mac over to our respective residences to enjoy a light repast of Trader Joe's tofu masala (I got a feeling he's a vegetarian) and a case of Yuengling as we spend the rainy evening talking about Matthew Ward's tour riders, the ringing chords on "Arthur Dove", and how many Buds Bob Pollard can put away in an hour.

But alas, the best laid plans of a Rockist often matriculate a day too late. Instead, I'm hoping that some savvy staffer out there got a copy of "Slack Motherf***er" to play the committee to prep for the hearing.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The XYZ Affair can outdo Britney Spears in anything

Alex Feder of The XYZ Affair recently informed the Rockists that they have retained the services of Richard Grabel, counsel to such bands as Sonic Youth, Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, Modest Mouse, Tokyo Police Club and many more. Grabel is a partner in the NYC office of Davis Shapiro Lewit & Hayes, LLP, the same firm that represents Britney Spears in certain matters. I think you've heard of her.

Now, XYZ doesn't have any children to neglect and lose custody of, but if they did, they would neglect the shit out of those kids. None of this half assed, "I need a judge to determine where the kids should go" nonsense. It would be so obvious that XYZ are unfit parents that the President would create a mandate stating The XYZ Affair shall lose all custody of any living being and be castrated. That's how rock and roll these guys are.

Oh, and they are coming back to DC on October 28 at the Black Cat backstage with Small Sins. Better not bring your kids.

photo courtesy of the band's myspace page

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Giver Giveth Away

I really wanted to do a simple post of a few top-shelf mp3s for the loyal Rockist faithful out there. My first idea was "Mystery" by the Apples in Stereo. But I couldn't find that anywhere and I didn't have the album (Velocity of Sound) with me today. Then I thought "I Wanna Know Girls" by Portastatic. So I searched for it on Hype Machine and found that I had actually posted that one already. So that was out.

Theeennnn I was sure that I wanted to post "The Concept" by Teenage Fanclub. Actually, I wanted to do a full-length post on it, but since I can't find a good copy anywhere, that'll have to wait (you'd do well to stay tuned to TRS to actually read that one, by the way).

I ended up rounding a couple good ones, but its harder than it looks when you have standards like mine. Really, I'm not kidding, I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

The Bigger Lovers - "Threadbare". The Rockists are prepared to offer the Bigger Lovers $500 to come to our house and play 5 songs.

Okkervil River - "A Girl in Port". Both Rob and GL can attest -- I've been humming this one for days. Will Sheff has some great lines on this one, especially the middle verse about Cindy.

Grandpaboy - "Let's Not Belong Together". From the second part of Paul Westerberg's comeback dual release, Stereo (under his real name) and Mono (under the Grandpaboy moniker). Were I to one day sit down and compile my all time top 50 albums, I imagine Mono would slide in there. There are easily four or five more tunes of this quality on it ("Silent Film Star", "AAA", "Between Love and Like"). His insistence on flubbed notes and a lo-fi aesthetic come across as a little pretentious (read the liner notes), but, like fellow Rockist Bob Pollard, it's just how he works best.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My dad meets the National

Ween. The Go-Betweens. Dan Bern. The National.

This is just a sampling of the bands my father -- yes, the much blogged about Father of a Rockist -- has turned ME onto (actually, just this second he informed me he's went to see the great Chris Hillman -- formerly of the Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, amongst others).

To the story at hand: a few years ago, Mama Rockist got into singer-songwriter Dan Bern and got the rest of the family into him as well. Pop Rockist took Mama to see Bern in Louisville shortly thereafter, and, opening up for them was none other than Rockist-certified Cincinnati, OH natives The National. Sort of an odd lineup, but whatever -- Mom and Pop loved it. They bought their disc on the spot. They had the band sign it.

Flash forward a few years. Pop is in Atlanta for work. He's having brunch at Rea's Bluebird (or something like that) with a former colleague and friend. He hears through the grapevine that the National were in town the night before. Then he looks across the restaurant and who does he see? One of the Dessner brothers from the National. Which one I'm not sure. But that's not the point. My dad then goes over and introduces himself, explains how he saw the group a while ago and really liked them, bought the CD, etc. The guy apparently was shell-shocked, wondering who this 55 year old guy was. He kept calling my dad "Sir" and speaking in a very grateful and deferential tone. I was justifiably impressed and proud, as all sons of Rockists should be, for a true Rockist can never grow old.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Young Folks

Instead of coming up with an original post, I'm just going to poach one from Stereogum. It's lazy, yes, but I think worthy of a repost. While you and I probably grew up singing along to Baby Beluga, The Wheels on the Bus, and, if you were really cool, Kokomo, these kids are singing along to FREAKING PAVEMENT. I realize that their aging hipster parents probably forced them to do this so they could get some blog love, but I don't care. It's pretty damn cute and totally awesome.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Something old...

If you look to your right, you will find a new logo by our good friend Nick. Here is your first glimpse at the faces behind TRS (good luck identifying us in a line up).

A challenge to our readers (who don't know us personally): can you tell who is whom?

Gimme Indie Rock, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog

Fellow Rockists,

I'd like to start this post with a conversation I had this morning on my way to work. It goes a little something like this:

GL, wearing a white-collared shirt, to a bum on the corner: how you doing?
Bum: alright, how you doing?
GL: alright.

I walk away. Five seconds later:

Bum, yelling after me: hey, you a white-collar worker?!
GL, shocked, and mostly to himself: yeah, I guess so...

The point of this story (apart from being socially awkward, hilarious, and rather poignant, even unintentionally so) is that while The Rockist Society pays off in some ways - namely the respect and adoration of our peers - it doesn't pay in actual currency ($$). So, yes, the Rockists have real jobs and, yes, they're probably considered "white collar" and, yes, we spend more time at them than we do at TRS headquarters. But that doesn't mean we love you any less, dear Rockists, and to prove it here's a song off the new Band of Horses album, Cease to Begin.

Yours forever,

GL Naut

Band of Horses - Is There a Ghost?
Sebadoh - Gimme Indie Rock

Friday, August 31, 2007

Laboriously Yours

I've been thinking about throwing up a few mp3s, just a little five-spot, for a while now. Just as a service to you, the reader, who might still use this site as an indispensable resource for rockist recordings. No more ado:

Alejandro Escovedo - "All the Young Dudes" (Mott the Hoople cover)
My dad once made me a mix with this on it. It's a live take, and the cover comes pretty natural for Escovedo, who has the range to pull off punk, glam, country, Latin folk, and glam-country-punk-Latin folk too.

The Beanstalk Library - "Elephantitis"
Just interviewed these guys for the DCist. Their album's got real promise, and they're probably the most classically-oriented power-pop group I've heard in DC so far. Show at DC9 on Sept 11.

Jukebox the Ghost - "Hold It In"
I think I've talked about these fellows before as well. They're also from DC, I think GW students, but their EP has a lot of variety -- spunky, piano-led melodies and their guitarist has a post-punk edge, kinda.

Travis - "Writing to Reach You"
Used to love Travis. That second album, The Man Who, really is great. The first and third ones are okay, and I dropped out after that. Would've caught their 9:30 Club show this summer but it was $40. Which seems like a lot. I did see them once, back at Bogart's in Cincinnati when I was in high school. My dad took me -- kind of my first real 'rock club' show. Had the time of my life, but in hindsight, I really hope Pops didn't have to shell out $40 bucks a ticket.

Ride - "Time of Her Time"
A classic power-pop cut just to reassure our fans out there. I noticed also that Some Velvet Blog has a cool power pop post with some Rainbow Quartz bands I wasn't terribly familiar with. But since the Rainbow Quartz prominently features bands that refuse to let their drummers play with more than a hi-hat while simultaneously recording songs titled "No Escape from the Infinite", I am obligated to approve. Anyway, this song is from British shoegazer/powerpop/Creation Records band Ride. No more introduction -- just a fine, almost breezy tune from their very accessible release Going Blank Again.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Rockist Goes to Congress, Part II

We brought you Congressman Steve Cohen a while back when he honored Stax Records for their indispensable contribution to American culture.

This time we offer you Senator Russ Feingold, doing his best Bob Dylan. The persistent references to the Green Bay Packers we could do without (Bear Down / Hail to the Redskins) and the whole thing is pretty weak, but least he's trying, right?

...Trail of Dead - "Naked Sun"


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Finally, an (almost) apology

I logged on to that ever wonderful piece of News Corp,, today. Lo and behold there was a message waiting for me from Field Music with the subject " Aaarrggh, we're useless!" I guess I had asked them when they were coming back to the states and this is what Davey had to say:

Hey there, 'fraid to say we have no plans at the mo to head back to the states - we're pretty much off all band activity. There's a slight possibility I'll come across at some point next year to do some gigs on my own as School of Language, but it all remains to be seen. I'm still gutted we ditched the DC gig - shame on us! shame!
Take care

That's right Davey... shame on you. Maybe I'll just cancel coming to your not yet planned dates... yeah, maybe I will. How does that make you feel?

Not that I'm still sore about it.*

*ed. note: I am

Monday, August 13, 2007

This Week in Video: More Like This Summer in Video

Yeah, so it's been a while. I seem to be leading off every post with a version of this...

This guy likes putting old movies to music.

The Twilight Sad - "That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy"

Since we're on a foreign band theme...

Shout Out Louds - "Tonight I Have To Leave It"

If any of you know us, you know we worship The Bigger Lovers. Since they haven't been a band in almost 2 years, you can probably guess that this is old, but f-in a, this song is in my top 3 of all time...

The Bigger Lovers - "Bought Your Ghost"

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rockist Crossword Puzzle: The British Invasion

We were kicking around new ways to liven things up around here, and one of the ideas was to make a Rockist Crossword Puzzle every so often. Here's my first shot at it: email your completed puzzles to and maybe we'll think of some kind of prize to give you. Exciting, huh? Just click on the puzzle above -- it should give you a bigger screen that you can print out and do with what you like.

*If any of you readers are more tech-savvy than I, also feel free to drop us a line and tell us a better way to do this.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Round One to Jason Isbell

Been talking about how I'm gonna blog about this for a while now, but last week I managed to catch both Jason Isbell and his new band the 400 Unit and then Isbell's former mates, the Drive-By Truckers, on Friday.

A few things have been written about the Truckers' set, most agreeing it was a decent showing but not quite up to what die-hard fans have come to expect. Last summer's 31 song marathon/death march/rock-and-roll-salvation was so intense, such a sweaty mess of a rock concert, that I don't remember much of it at all. I think they covered "Moonlight Mile" and I remember being in a headlock...

But this time it started out with their new acoustic thing -- The Dirt Underneath -- and just didn't quite sound right. The guitar's were tinny, the pace kinda dragging, and Jason's absence notable. For the past few albums (since he joined the band), he's always come across as the pop classicist in the group -- something his new solo disc proves. His songs had more polish, more melody, and I've said this before but if a member of the band was gonna make a million dollars penning some radio country hit, it'll definitely be him. The Truckers missed that strong melodic presence in their set and, if I'm being totally honest, John Neff just isn't the guitarist Isbell is.

Either way, after Isbell had done everything but burn the place down earlier in the week, the Truckers had quite a challenge on their hands. Jason's a rare breed: not many solo artists are bold enough to play 2 hours plus sets with a brand new band on their first solo tour. In that span, he ran through the highlights of his debut, with the exception of "Shotgun Wedding", and touched most of his best Truckers' tunes too. And then he also covered "Psycho Killer", "Keep Your Distance" by Richard Thompson, "Into the Mystic", and "Jailbreak" by Thin Lizzy. Not all of those were perfect -- "Keep Your Distance" with its delicately picked guitar part was damn close -- but they showed off a range and a confidence I didn't quite expect.

So the Truckers may still have the pedigree, the name, the reputation, and while I hear things ended amicably, you have to think they're looking over their shoulder while Isbell starts blowing up.

Jason Isbell @ RnR Hotel - Setlist:
Down in a Hole / Grown / The Assassin (P. Hood) / Hurricanes and Hand Grenades / Never Gonna Change / Goddamn Lonely Love / Chicago Promenade / Brand New Kind of Actress / Decoration Day / Dress Blues / ("old Muscle Shoals song"?) / Outfit // When the Well Runs Dry / Keep Your Distance (R. Thompson) / Danko/Manuel / Psycho Killer (Talking Heads) / Try / In a Razor Town // Into the Mystic (Van Morrison) / Jailbreak (Thin Lizzy)

Jason Isbell - "Dress Blues" (live)
Jason Isbell - "Jailbreak" (live)