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?"