Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You Got Me Running

Saw this on Myspace. Yeah, remember that? It's where all your friends who didn't go to college went before 2008...

Dead Man's Bones - "In The Room Where You Sleep"

I don't know why, but I keep expecting the Count to come out at any moment.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Rockist Revisits: Help!

In part inspired -- yet again -- by Noel Murray's Popless column on the AV Club (wherein he refuses to listen to new music for a year and instead revisits the back pages of his personal collection, reassessing as he goes), I thought it could be cool to listen to some of the less discussed Beatles' albums over and over and see how I felt about them a couple decades after hearing them for the first time.

I started with Help!, partially because it was the only one I had loaded on to my new iPod and partially because the companion film was on a few weeks ago and I had the chance to watch it for the first time in a long time. It's no A Hard Day's Night -- about as flawless a ninety-minute romp as you could ask for -- but the movie has plenty of sweet musical interludes and some funny bits (John: "Hey Ringo, whatcha doin' on the floor?" Ringo: "I'm tired") to spice up the overwhelming self-referential goofiness. The soundtrack though is unsurprisingly superb and maybe even more consistent than Hard Day's Night's.

I had forgotten that it's mostly an acoustic album, with Lennon still working on his Dylan impression and the band's harmonies a little looser and more laid-back. Harrison's songs are hit and miss: "You Like Me Too Much" should've been a Gerry and the Pacemakers hit single, but it sounds lightweight here, yet "I Need You" has a sparse but pleasant Rickenbacker thing going on and cowbell from our boy Ringo while kind of hinting at the tunefulness George would hit later.  As for John's title track, I think I listened to this one for years before I realized how desperate it is -- pretty shocking for a guy as young as John (he wasn't quite 25) and for an album and a movie's lead single.  

As I've been scouring used record stores for the past few weeks in advance of the Christmas holiday, I've noticed that Help! is the probably the most commonly sold-back used Beatles disc.  Kind of sad, really -- Magical Mystery Tour and Let It Be are, in my opinion, vastly inferior albums despite some very high points (especially on the former).  So, if you're strapped for cash this holiday season, how about picking up a used copy of this one for the rockologically- challenged on your shopping list?  And if you've already got it, give it another spin.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Music as Torture

Hey there faithful readers! Breaking news - the United States military is using rock and roll as torture. Check it out here or here. The good fellas at DC Rock Club covered it too.

It seems they basically blast Pantera, AC/DC, Nine Inch Nails. Probably Motorhead too. Maybe Ween's debut, GodWeenSatan: The Oneness?
We at The Rockist Society don't like to be explicitly political, nor are we interrogation experts. I can't speak for all of us, but personally I am against torture (which seems sort of like McCain repeatedly letting us know that he was against a second Holocaust). Frankly, I think I could listen to My Bloody Valentine or the Truckers (thinking of particularly loud bands here) for hours and hours on end. There are, however, an endless number of acts who could easily be used to torture me if played at loud volumes for hours or days in a row. Among them:

Contemporary James Taylor
The Ting Tings
Ten Years After
Emerson, Lake, and Palmer
mid-late period Chicago
Kid Rock's recent single that rips off both "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Werewolves of London"

How about you all?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

One more thing to be thankful for

Portland, OR "Glam Parsons" quintet Cabinessence have a free ep for download.  

Particularly thankful for this one right here. 

Cabinessence - "One Day (Or Another)"

The Giving of Thanks

We here at the Rockist Society have much to be thankful for.  Among those things -- the end of Megan McCain's "music" blog, a Ray Davies show at the 9:30 Club in December (will he play Father Christmas?); friends; smoked poultry; Rob's latest craze, the bacon-infused Old Fashioned; the long-awaited release of the Flaming Lips' Christmas on Mars (though the soundtrack somehow does not include one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs, "Christmas at the Zoo" off Clouds Taste Metallic); the forthcoming Beatles Rock Band inspired video game; an early copy of 2009's new Oranges Band LP, The Oranges Band Are Invisible; family; oyster casserole; the opportunity to absentmindedly watch no longer two, but now three football games we care little to nothing about; classic rocker on-stage jam sessions; willful attempts at obscurism like McCartney's latest The Fireman LP; Buzz Coffee Shop's caramel apple cupcakes; at least one of our number getting to see the DBT/THS monster-tour (G.L., if you're out there, please blog about it).  And then the Redskins and the Bears both haven't entirely embarassed themselves yet.  

And as ever, we are thankful for Big Star, The Bigger Lovers, and Music From Big Pink, as well as the Beachwood Sparks, the Beach Boys, and On the Beach

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at the Rockist Society.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fake Bandnames

We've done some stuff on this before, but the AV Club just posted a fairly funny article on fake bandnames.

I've been privy to a number of brainstorming bandname sessions, and somewhere have a spiral notebook filled with aborted song lyrics and potential monikers for the never-existent groups I briefly dallied around with.

Some of them included:

The Motorsouls - a name stolen from something I read in my Religions of South Asia course and decided it would make a great band name at a time in my life when I thought mystical Indian religious concepts made great band names. The Motorsouls was later appropriated by my friend's actual band for exactly one gig, when they were billed as "Bebop, Rocksteady, and the Motorsouls.

Natty Bumppo - would've been a decent name for a Ween-influence slacker dub/reggae outfit of literary liberal arts college types. Unfortunately, we were just a Ween-influenced slacker classic rock cover band of mostly literary, mostly liberal arts college types. Did play one gig -- "Devilstock 2000" at Henry Clay High School (nickname: Blue Devils) in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Comanche/Soul Trio - Meant to be an acoustic three-piece, musical direction undetermined. Birthed my now-defunct blog of the same name and my own personal, unofficial record label.

Bobby and the Malt-Shop Boys - the one-off alter ego of Juggernaut (see below). Played the exact same songs as Juggernaut, but performed in letter jackets and neckties.

The Bro Sweets - named for Clinton Portis' press conference alter ego, Kid Bro Sweets. Envisioned as a return to power pop almost-glory -- just three, brightly ringing chords, a fine melody, a dash of bittersweet resignation, and middle-of-the-road harmonies. Without any musical ability, my role in the band was never determined.

The Milkshakes - An indie pop alter ego of The Bro Sweets. Acoustic. Practiced once in our old basement on Capitol Hill. Later gathered together to listen to a Yo La Tengo all-request show. Broke up shortly thereafter.

Wow. A quick review of that list reveals it to be far more embarassing than I would have thought. On the other hand, there was Angus and the Beefcattle, a high school group fronted by a gentle giant of a man that banged out the simpler side of classic rock with relative abandon; and Juggernaut, a (still on hiatus) college group featuring myself and G.L., lots of over-the-top antics, cheap bourbon, endless renditions of "Down By the River" and a decidedly sloppy take on "Sweet Jane".

How about you all? G.L. suggests Jump Ball Jones and the Backcourt Violations and The Horse Collars. I always liked the Zambonis, but I think that's a real band. Let's have it: what's your imaginary band go by?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hypothetical future Centro-matic song titles

I can't go see Centro-matic Wednesday night at the Rock and Roll Hotel because I have to study. But you really ought to go. An all around good lineup of Will Johnson and co. side projects and full band stuff, and nary a Rockist has seen them and not been impressed. Johnson is also an affable sort, quite funny on stage when he opens his mouth.

In honor of them though, and in hopes that you will attend, here are five hypothetical songs off a future Centro-matic LP:

Epicureal on Channel Forty-Two
Argyle at the Limited Co.
The Mighty Midget Kitchen
Toaster in the Recycling Bin
Umenyiora Sits Out the Season

Centro-matic - "Calling Thermatico"
Centro-matic - "Argonne Limit Co."
*Basically my favorite music blog -- in terms of content at least -- Captain's Dead has a full live show from their hometown of Denton, TX here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mitch Mitchell Rest in Peace

Sad news today. Legendary drummer for the Jimi Hendrix Experience Mitch Mitchell has passed away in his Portland hotel room, apparently of natural causes. He had just wrapped up a Hendrix tribute tour at the end of last week.

Mitchell had a number of other bona fide Rockist credentials -- playing with Lennon's impromptu band for the Stones Rock and Roll circus, playing with the Pretty Things -- but his lasting legacy will be as the backbone of the numero-uno powerhouse trio in rock history (in this humble Rockist's opinion).

With Hendrix's Band of Gypsies drummer -- and talented solo artist in his own right -- Buddy Miles passing on earlier this year, it's a tough 2008 for Hendrix cohorts. Chas Chandler may want to schedule a checkup with his primary care physician sometime soon.

If you have one, leave your favorite Experience tune in the comments. Mine may well be "Manic Depression", Mitchell carrying the band the whole way.

Monday, November 10, 2008

They are trying to break my heart.

I can't remember if we've blogged about it, but we sure have dreamed about it.

Yes, it's been a couple of years since we first said that the Hold Steady and the Drive-By Truckers should tour together.  And then they did.  And not just a couple shows together, a whole freakin' tour.  That somehow, someway, appears to be hitting every major and minor city in the eastern half of the United States -- EXCEPT Washington, DC or anywhere within three hours of it.  

I do think this is odd, as the Truckers and the Steady sell out each and every time they play around here. But then again, both have been through relatively recently and maybe didn't want to oversaturate?  To that I would say "No, please, saturate!  Saturate liberally!"

Well they took it one step too far the other night.  Largehearted Boy -- God bless him, I know he meant well -- posted an mp3 of the two bands covering "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World", together, like one of those sweet Rock-and-Roll-Hall-of-Fame-induction-ceremony jam sessions with way too many people playing rhythm guitar, two bassists, everybody sharing mics, the roadies shaking tambourines.  It made me feel like an 17 year old, discovering a vast new world of indie rock bands, but unable to get in the door to any of their shows.  

The Drive-By Truckers (with the Hold Steady) - "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" (live)

Friday, November 7, 2008

We now return to your regularly scheduled programming...

The election's over, liberalism reigns, and let's honor it with some feedback-laced guitar jams from the Pacific Northwest.

About twice a year, I revisit the deep catalog of Doug Martsch and Built to Spill and remind myself that they would at least have one -- if not two -- entries in my list of ten deserted-island discs.  For three albums, Martscould simply not miss.  I am the sort of person that looks at the run times on iTunes and goes for anything sub-3 minutes first, but his lengthier songs like "Kicked it in the Sun", "Broken Chairs", and my personal favorite "Velvet Waltz" have enough twists and turns to keep your attention.  Now I've seen them twice in concert and Martsch once by himself (actually the best of the three), and they do tend to wander.  The last time out they couldn't stop fiddling with the projector behind them, and they must've made 6 songs last an hour.  Like their mediocre last album, it was just too much.  Martsch also briefly dabbled in this slide-blues phase that resulted in a solo album (Now You Know) which wasn't quite ill-advised but not exactly revelatory either.  Still, it proved Big Doug is talented and compelling enough as a songwriter and as a singer to carry songs without the gauzy layers of guitar.

But lately I've noticed BTS fans are very good about posting all kinds of live stuff online, so with a great many thanks to the more sophisticated bloggers with "technological capabilities", "work ethic", "dedication", "tape recorders", and "cameras", I bring you a concise little weekend collection of some very fine Built to Spill moments.  

*Photo from Sidekick Design.  One of these days I'm going to do a post of the best rock show posters.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And the Moment You've All Been Waiting For... UPDATE

The Rockist Society formally endorses Neil Young for President.

Yeah, we know he's Canadian.

Neil Young / Bruce Springsteen - "Keep On Rockin' In The Free World"

Don't forget to vote (although I think it's impossible to not remember).


Friends sent these to me and they were too good to pass up.

Coco Tea - "Barack Obama"

"Obama Is Beautiful World!"

Dance Off

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Le Cinema Rockiste: Rachel Getting Married

My fiancee and I went to the movies for the first time in a while this weekend. The selection? Rachel Getting Married, a Jonathan Demme indie flick starring Anne Hathaway
who already has the Oscar buzzards circling.

Decent movie -- dark, with disorienting camera work, with good but not great performances -- but normally not something I'd write about. I didn't do a lot of background research before we went (as I usually do), so I was surprised to see a) Robyn Hitchcock and b) TV on the Radio lead singer Tunde Adebimpe. Strong rockist cred there, but not surprising for the man behind the Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense and the recent slow, slow Neil Young doc Heart of Gold (and a crap load of other incredibly sweet non-Rockist movies).
The whole movie takes place over one weekend -- Rachel's wedding -- when the Hathaway charcter gets out of rehab to go back home and attend. Adebimpe plays her sister's fiance -- and does so with a nice warmth -- who also happens to be a musician. Consequently, all his musician friends come to the house for the wedding and proceed to cover the entire movie in this musical haze -- at a particularly tense moment Hathaway has to scream at a trio of dudes just jamming on ukeleles and fiddles in the living room in the middle of the day.
While other parts of the wedding are less than desireable, having Robyn Hitchcock play at your wedding -- even if it is some totally bizarre tune about Spanish tarantulas -- rates as what would surely be one of the coolest moments of a young Rockist couple's life. But I'll actually go so far as to say it's surpassed within the movie when it comes time to say the vows. Won't say what it is, but as someone who is inclined to think much about these things these days, it's a great moment -- sweet, geeky, a little awkward, quite memorable, and unwaveringly rockist.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Broken Social Scene @ The State Theatre in Falls Church

Rob and I braved the wilds of I-66 to catch the Broken Social Scene at the State Theatre in Falls Church on Wednesday.  We got there right as music was supposed to begin (8:30) but were faced with a line that literally stretched around the block.  And this being the suburbs, blocks are long.  I suppose the front desk folks weren't used to current hipsters, just ageing ones?  So we went in to Don and Clare's Beach Shack next door, an odd place run by clear Florida Gator fans.  They do have $2 PBRs though, which is something.  Anyway, the line died down and we went in a few minutes before everyone's favorite Canadian indie rock collective came on.  It was actually a much smaller lineup than I expected.  My only BSS experience was when a few of them joined The Constantines on stage in Minneapolis for a few tunes, and those turned into ensemble jam sessions where half a dozen people were banging tamborines like the world depended on it.  So it was with a mix of trepidation and excitement that we geared up for the set.  

It was, on the whole, pretty good.  There's a fairly simple formula:  if Kevin Drew's singing lead, stick around.  If it's anyone else -- besides whichever token female is touring with them -- it may be time to use the restroom, get another beer, or stand in the cold while your friends have a cigarette.  The band was touring behind co-founder Brendan Canning's new "solo" album, Something for All of Us, but the selections they played from it were just really dull.  I already talked about the best songs here, but I also liked "Shampoo Suicide" and "KC Accidental", the latter of which got a real rise from the crowd as they kicked into those opening notes.  "Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl" was nice too, but while I may be no musician, it seems like it'd be hard to mess that one up.  

They did a few songs of each of the dudes' solo projects.  I will only tell you that I will probably never listen to Sam Goldberg's Hawaii, but I made a mental note to look more into Do Make Say Think.  The show kept going on and on, and I suspect a number of folks took off to catch the last train back to DC.  We actually picked up a few stragglers ourselves, some clearly confused showgoers sitting on the corner of I-66 and Lee Highway, the hour nearing 1 am, wondering how the hell they'd get back into DC.  Obviously, cabs can be called, but it was still a real pain in the ass to have the show out there.  All that said, a decent venue with numerous bars, pretty good sightlines, okay sound, good beer prices, and free and easy parking.  Could've been worse.

Broken Social Scene - "Ibi Dreams of Pavement" (Live)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pete Yorn for John McCain

Singer-songwriter Pete Yorn supports John McCain.

The man Yorn has spent most of his career imitating (at times poorly), Bruce Springsteen, supports Barack Obama.

You decide.

UPDATE: Some loyal readers have pointed out that Pete Yorn may not in fact be a McCain supporter. We had received this information from a reliable source, but no real confirmation was ever received. We invite Pete Yorn to weigh in himself. And Pete, if you're reading this, please do know that I do enjoy much of your music, including large portions of musicforthemorningafter and Nightcrawler. So, Pete the Indie Rocker -- who's it gonna be?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Universi-Tees: Rockist Approved

Just wanted to point you to a Rockist-approved t-shirt site, Universi-Tees, with the hope that you'll maybe buy something or at least pass it along.  In the interest of full disclosure, the company is run by my brother and his friends, so I make no claims of partiality.  As of right now they have a number of college shirts as well as the one above, which in my opinion is both hilarious and poignant.  You only have a few more weeks to buy up the Palin ones before she returns to cultural irrelevance, or, as it's commonly known, Alaska.  All the shirts are printed on American Apparel t-shirts, so they're perfect for all you socially conscious and slender rockists out there.  


Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Broadfield Marchers - The Inevitable Continuing

Long time back, we "introduced" you all to The Broadfield Marchers out of my home state of Kentucky (they're from Louisville, but I suppose that's okay).  Lead singer Dustin Zdobylak was kind enough to send a copy of their latest Rainbow Quartz release, The Inevitable Continuing to yours truly.  We don't get a lot of records -- Yell County, if you're out there, I liked the disc and I still owe you a post and probably a show -- but we like free discs, and it's a good way to get on our good side and generate buzz amongst the dozens of people that read this blog each week.  

But to the record at hand.  The little press these guys have gotten has trumped their heavy GbV influence, which is undeniable.  Just take a look at the song titles: "The Thoughts of Simple Simon", "Sad Earth Maze", "When Cowards Stall".  To compliment the clunky Pollardesque lyrics, there are plenty of McCartneyisms and early Who references; the best of this bunch are pretty, driving, and laced with a touch of resignation and melancholy.  Or it sure sounds like they are -- it's hard to know exactly what "drowning, crowded marketplace / apocalyptic seagull" actually means. But nobody in they're right mind goes to crunchy pop songs for wordsmithing -- hell, like Guided by Voices before them, it's even more impressive that they can mold lyrics this weird into something this catchy.  

I could go on for a while but I'm trying to cut down on the length of my posts, so I'll skip to the highlights: "Amazing Wheels" is the archetypal power pop tune, soaring harmonies included; "When Cowards Stall" sounds like an old Syd Barrett demo; "Morning Heat Leader" isn't the most interesting tune, but the bass part's cool; "Sailing Fortune" takes you back the mid-90s stylings of the Posies and Superdrag; and "Panic Imposed" is their overt Big Star homage (think #1 Record, not Third/Sister Lovers).  And you may not have a heart if you can't enjoy the acoustic "Patterns of a Glance", which nods to the catchiest Elephant 6 stuff without all the extra whimsy.  

An early favorite for my best of 2008 list.

The Broadfield Marchers - "Grease of Freedom"
The Broadfield Marchers - "Amazing Wheels"
The Broadfield Marchers - "When Cowards Stall"

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fleet Foxes, Frank Fairfield - Black Cat - October 3, 2008

Having missed Fleet Foxes the two previous times they have been in town, I was quick to jump on tickets as soon as they went on sale. I kind of forgot about the show until G.H. posted about the $100 tickets on CL and I thought "Damn, gonna be packed." It was.

Frank Fairfield opened up the show with a ratty old banjo, looking like an Amish boy. He picked away on that banjo and mumbled some whiny lyrics into the mic. Then he picked up a fiddle and did the same thing. Then a guitar, then a banjo, then a fiddle and finally a guitar. I couldn't catch a single lyric that he spouted... He sounded like an old man on a porch in Mississippi, so I was taken aback when I discovered he is from California.

Fleet Foxes got onstage. Although they didn't play anything off of their first EP, they did play a cover (or two) and a new song (or two). Robin played an old folk song, "Katy Cruel," which has been covered by the likes of Jerry Garcia, Nick Cave and many, many more, that left the audience not knowing what to do with themselves. He then went into a song that I couldn't identify ("Nothing's happened but I think it will soon..."). Their new song, "Silver City," combined all of the aspects of their previous songs: driving staccato guitars, big toms, soft harmonies and a lot of "ooooos." Although the harmonies started out a little shaky, I really enjoyed it.

I know G.L. has commented on the staying power of these guys, but I think he is underestimating them. As long as Fleet Foxes keep putting out catchy, pretty music, guys will continue taking their girlfriends to the shows.

Fleet Foxes Setlist:
Sun Giant / Sun It Rises / Drops In The River / English House / White Winter Hymnal / Ragged Wood / Your Protector / Katy Cruel (solo, old folk cover) / New Song? (solo) / Oliver James (solo) / Quiet Houses / He Doesn't Know Why / Mykonos // Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (solo) / Silver City (new song) / Blue Ridge Mountains

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Obama Goes Stones over Beatles

Is this a deal breaker? CQ Politics writer David Nather describes a tension-filled affair just prior to the unveiling of the bailout package.

There's not a lot there, besides, obviously, Obama's untypically undiplomatic choice of the Stones over the Beatles.

Though I've never considered how he would respond to such a question, I'm not completely shocked. Just disappointed.

No word on how McCain would respond, but good money says he'd take "The Glenn Miller Orchestra" any day of the week. Hell, the guy probably thinks Pat Boone recorded the original version of "Tutti Frutti".

***UPDATE: Previously blogged about Meghan McCain shows either a very sharp grasp of irony or a Palinesque lack of awareness.  We'll let you decide which.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

We may be able to smell the patchouli from here

Phish announced on their site that they are doing 3 shows at Hampton Colosseum next spring.

GL and I have seen our fair share of Phish shows back when his hair was longer and nattier (true story), yet this is one weekend that you couldn't pay me enough to get on I-95.

Do they give tickets for driving on mushrooms?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Throw Me the Statue and The Broken West @ RnR

Two full weeks since we've posted. We're sorry. It's been pretty busy, we're happy to say, and the past week has been chock full of Rockism for me personally. Rob and I ventured to RnR Hotel last Wednesday to see Rob's cause celebre The Broken West play with Seattle up-and-comers Throw Me The Statue, who for some reason I wanted to associate with Matt Pond PA despite never having heard a single song of the latter's. I reported on the evening here, but some other details to share:

- The Broken West again closed the show with "Brass Ring". As I said, Rob is a huge fan of this band, but there is one song he will not abide and it is "Brass Ring." I kinda like it, but the lyrics are a page out of "Power Pop Basics For Foreigners": "Do you want to talk to me?/ Because I want to talk to you". I think we may have reported on this before.
- Rob was so disheartened by this that he immediately (immediately) sought out the band and asked them why they closed, yet again, with "Brass Ring" (he's now seen them four times, while I've seen them just three). Now he couched it with typical Rockist diplomacy, but I think the point was made.
- The bassist from TBW stole at least two or three licks from Summerteeth, YHF-era Wilco.
- "Down in the Valley" is still the best song they've ever done, though I liked a couple of the new ones, including "Auctioneer".
- Throw Me The Statue weren't too bad. They were certainly better than what I imagine Matt Pond PA to be like. When the lead singer took up a floor tom and a snare center stage, I told Rob that this was not a good sign. It reeked of gimmick, but the cynicism died off when they started to play. It was actually quite cool, and I felt bad for having said anything in the first place.
- None of their songs besides "Lolita" and "Yucatan Gold" really stuck with me, but all were quite pleasant. Did anyone else hear a little bit of The National in these guys?
- A long time ago, while at the 9:30 Club, TRS fan Allison identified a very good song playing between sets as a Throw Me the Statue tune. I don't think she was right about this, but she's a big fan, so who knows. She sought out the band afterwards and they were all real nice guys...
- ...with excellent credibility. Founder/lead singer Scott Reitherman and I had a nice little talk about the ins-and-outs of Paul Westerberg and his solo career. I hold to the belief that Stereo/Mono is one of rock's all time greatest comeback albums, and Mono might very well make my all time Desert Island Disc list (*for the uninitiated, please follow that Mono link and notice that you can pick it up used for just $0.65 right now).
- Finally, TMTS covered the Huey Lewis tune "If This Is It", which I found to be almost entirely unrecognizable, but still enjoyed quite a lot even after Rob told me what was going on.

Throw Me The Statue - "Lolita"
Throw Me The Statue - "About to Walk"
The Broken West - "Auctioneer"

Monday, September 15, 2008

Floyd Keyboardist Rick Wright 1943-2008

Sad news Rockists. Richard ("Rick") Wright, founding member of Pink Floyd, passed away today. He had been fighting cancer for some time, and finally succumbed at the age of 65.

It's sad, but we here at TRS prefer to remember the rich musical legacy he leaves behind. Forgetting some late period grievances -- not knocking all of The Wall, but he technically left the group around the time that pompous load of self-indulgence was being recorded -- Floyd's keyboards were always one of their strong suits. Think back on those plinking noises that usher in "Echoes" or, one of my favorites, "Us and Them".

We're always sad to see a great Rockist go on to his great gig in the sky (a song Wright actually wrote), today we remember Richard William Wright and we fondly remember a very specific scene: age 14, dark room, lava lamp, beat-up futon, Dark Side of the Moon blaring on the boombox speakers. Godspeed.

Friday, September 12, 2008

To all of our readers in NYC

If you have no plans tonight, or even if you do, go see our friends King Charles, the greatest Chuck Berry tribute band, at Freddy's Backroom.  They go on at 10.  This is going to be their last show for a while due to Tim's overseas quest.

If you aren't convinced, this video of Scott may just do the trick.

Oh, and wear your sweats.  There's dancing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My Morning Jacket @ DAR

Loyal DCist reader Will managed to score a spare ticket for My Morning Jacket's show at DAR last week.  And by ticket, I mean ten rows back in the middle.  To repay his generosity, I ignored his requests to a) provide a setlist and b) write anything about the show.  

No more.  G.H. is a Rockist of his word.  

The show was good.  It was close to great.  DC Rock Club have recently been vocal in not really understanding what these guys are all about, not really getting the hype (though they weighed in after this one).  I'd argue that if you've given their albums a good shot (starting at the beginning with The Tennessee Fire, or at least At Dawn, still my favorite release of theirs and working up at least through Z) and you still don't like it, then the live show's probably not your thing either.  But if their fuzzy Allmanisms at least pique your interest, then, really, get to a show.  

This is a band that has grown into the arena-sized clothes (or capes?) that they've been threatening to don since "Magheeta" (which they didn't play) opened up the sprawling It Still Moves.  Like many, I didn't love their latest, Evil Urges, though it had its moments.  But a few songs -- like "I'm Amazed" and "Two Halves" -- were a little livelier, umm, live, where the focus wasn't so much on the sheen and vocal treatment you get on record.  They did some weird stuff too, including a nearly 20-minute version of "Cobra" (a rare cut off the Chocolate & Ice EP) that might not win over the DCRC but was a welcome diversion.  MMJ may have gained a lot of followers from jam-band crossovers, though they don't really jam in the sense that say, Phish or the Cornpone Pudding Project do.  But, in my humble Rockist opinion, they're best when they sprawl.  "Dondante", Z's closer, took a while to get going, but the late arriving chiming solo was gorgeous and gradually turned into a pretty damn awesome guitar freakout.

I should say a quick word about "Run Thru" too, which combines Jim James' penchant for a stupid as hell lyric ("Oh shit! Run! Oh shit! Run! / "Oh shit, run through the the ghetto!") with a guitar assault about as heavy as they come.  It's half old-fashioned southern rock, half metal riffage, half light show.  Yeah, light show.  They actually didn't do a whole lot with the lights the rest of the set, but when they swirled and came up on the drummer during the breakdown, it was your quintessential arena rock moment, but with MMJ you sense that they think it's sort of awesome and sort of funny.  Which is just enough irony for this Rockist.

Evil Urges / Anytime / Off the Record / Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 1 / Two Halves / Golden / Thank You Too! / I'm Amazed / The Way That He Sings / Sec Walkin / War Begun / Phone Went West (crap, meant to mention this...one of my all time favorites) / Cobra / Librarian / Dondante / Gideon / Lay Low / Steam Engine // Wordless Chorus / Highly Suspicious / Smokin from Shootin / Touch Me I'm Going to Scream Part 2 / Run Thru / One Big Holiday

$100 to see the Fleet Foxes


Yeah, they're pretty good. Nice album. Put on a good show when I caught them at the BC Backstage last spring.

But in the day and age of 45 minute headlining sets, how much would you pay for a band with one LP under their belts?

Better yet, not to be too terribly cynical, but will we still be talking about these guys in two years? I hope so, as I do like them quite a bit, but the odds say probably not.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Definitely Noel Gets Decked, Maybe Seriously Hurt

Those of you who scroll the blogs all day for good info know all about what happened in Toronto the other night. Oasis' lead guitarist and Man City fan Noel Gallagher got laid out by a fan while on stage. The band amazingly took a short break and kept the show going, but it looks like Noel might have a cracked rib and some ligament damage.

My fellow DCister Kyle (aka Information Leafblower) just so happened to be at that very show with a photo pass and got some pretty stellar shots. A couple of them look like they could be the models for a Jacques-Louis David painting or something.

Anyway, check them out here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sounds like a horn full of mayonaise; voice like a big bucket.

A true Josh Groban fan.

We at The Rockist Society don't condone the phrase "Black People Music." Music is for all people.*

*Except Swedes. They're douches.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

PSA - A Rockist Guide to Rocking in Your Car

Working about a mile from my house, it's a rare occasion that I use my car more than once per week. Considering the fact that my car no longer has a stereo, I have had to resort to singing to myself, using my BlackBerry as a stereo or listening to my iPod through one ear bud (which I've only done once) on the occasion that I bite the bullet and decide the 3 mile round trip is worth $18 in gas. My ride to work (up Pennsylvania Ave, SE) has been precarious at best due to drivers' listening habits while commuting.

The most prevalent way I see drivers listening to tunes is through their stereo speakers at a reasonable level. While probably the safest and least illegal mode of tune enjoyment, the usual songs that emanate from the open windows consist of talking about confection stores or split personalities.

Every once in a while I see a middle aged woman in her Nissan Maxima, ears clogged with plastic, trying to figure out if clockwise or counterclockwise is louder. Sometimes it's a kid (I can't believe I'm old enough to call minors kids), but usually it's some Josh Groban worshiping menopausal Layne Bryant customer. Oh, and this is totally illegal in DC (unless your iPod has a hands-free accessory that allows you to control the device by voice) and VA. If you are one of these people, please take off your headphones so you can hear me swearing at you and your (presumed) music choice.

The most annoying (and dangerous to Rockist bikers) kind of listening is the kind that has nothing to do with music. It's those darned commuters that have the most ineffective but still effective form of birth control glued to their ear. Here's my one sided version of every conversation: "No Chad, I said we'd play doubles on Saturday... Of course I'll go to the tasting, it's not like I have pilates every day... " I wish they would just put down the phones and listen to some Huey Lewis and the News... or spend time with someone who's obsessed with them.

image courtesy of Bike Snob NYC

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fall Concert Lineups

*not playing

It sure has been a while since the last TRS concert outing. It's shaping up that our wettest outing might very well be our last outing. We did, on the other hand, all see the same band in the same month (granted it was in different states). One was lost to the Windy City, so it seems as though the tri-reviews are extinct. Ah well, that doesn't have to stop the reviews all together. Here are a couple possibilities in the coming months.

Sun 8/31 - Club Scout, Pash, Poor But Sexy - Iota


Fri 9/5 - Dr. Dog, Delta Spirit - Iota
Sat 9/6 - The Walkmen, Golem - 930 Club
Mon 9/8 - Spindrift, Flying Eyes - Velvet Lounge
Wed 9/10 - Silver Jews, Monotonix - Black Cat
Mon 9/22 - Bobby Bare Jr, The Builders and The Butchers - Rock and Roll Hotel
Sat 9/27 - Robert Pollard's Boston Spaceships, The High Strung - Black Cat


Fri 10/3 - Fleet Foxes, Frank Fairfield - Black Cat
Mon 10/6 - Twilight Hotel - Velvet Lounge
Thu 10/9 - The Caribbean, Pale Young Gentlemen - Velvet Lounge
Tue 10/22 - Ben Kweller, Whitley - Rock and Roll Hotel
Fri 10/24 - Plants and Animals, Born Ruffians - Rock and Roll Hotel
Mon 10/27 - Billy Bragg - 930 Club
Tue 10/28 - Jay Reatard, Cola Freaks - Black Cat Backstage

The Walkmen on Fox5 News (NYC)

Holy crap.  Interviews just do not get more awkward than this.  Fox5 local news in New York had The Walkmen on and the results are tremendous.  The new album, You and Me, really does sound good, but not the type of band to liven up a morning show.  Very safe money says Fox doesn't have them back.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TRS on the Campaign Trail: The McCain Blogette

We try to appeal to all party affiliations on this blog. Have we blogged about Ted Nugent? No, not that I can remember. Will we? Probably not. Are the vast majority of our subjects presumed Democrats? Yes. But we assume our readership to represent all manner of parties: We can absolutely confirm that we have at least one libertarian regular reader.
However, one thing we've never managed to cover in the 3+ years that McCain has been actively campaigning for President is his daughter Meghan's blog, McCainBlogette.com. Some of you may have either heard about it or visited it yourself. Like many other kids in their mid-twenties, she likes fashion, movie stars of the day, and a wide variety of music. Her family also has 8 residences and makes a few hundred million dollars (that's per year). But otherwise, yes, you're regular, un-elite, twenty-something chick just jamming to her iPod and flying around the country campaigning with her dad.

Which brings us to the only question we have any real reason to ask: How's the music? The short answer is that it's not bad. Dinosaur Jr., The Flaming Lips, mid-period White Stripes, The Arcade Fire, The Walkmen, Neutral Milk, etc etc. This makes up the better part of a truly postmodern musical patchwork that includes a few choice Faith Hill cuts, Heart's "Barracuda", Miles Davis, Tupac, some bands I've never heard of, and Better than Ezra. In short, it's exactly what everyone means when you ask them "What kind of music do you like?" and they say "Oh, wow, I mean, I listen to everything." From a purely Rockist perspective it's decent: it covers the Rock Canon, makes passing references to influential rootsy genres, displays a moderate amount of diversity, and throws in some oddball cuts few people will have known. She even surprised me a few times -- would you have guessed McCain's daughter listened to Gang of Four? And how would the members of Gang of Four feel about her using their music to "unofficially" help her father's campaign?

So finding nothing to criticize here, I'm forced to turn to her actual writing for good fodder. Playlist #3 includes the note that Seu Jorge is a genius. That seems like an overstatement. Playlist #14 is entirely made up of country songs. I listen to plenty of country music, commercial, alternative, and otherwise. For example, I can confirm that Brad Paisley can be a clever songwriter, and Carrie Underwood can, in fact, really wail (her band's not half bad either). But the Toby Keith here is just Red State-pandering, and Tim McGraw's cover of Ryan Adam's "When the Stars Go Blue" is actually worse than the version done by the Corrs with Bono guesting.

There are moments of general cheesiness as well. She writes, "What does it feel like to win the Florida primary? It feels like the Doors' 'Break on Through'". Yes, I'm quite sure that's exactly what Jim Morrison had in mind. Also, according to her, she's been a fan of the Dead Milkmen ever since an ex-boyfriend told her they'd change her life. If the Dead Milkmen are the band that changes John McCain's daughter's life, imagine what her life must have been like BEFORE she listened to them.

Finally, on July 9, she actually posted all her gushing fan mail. Some of them -- "this blog alone with bring hundreds of thousands of Americans to the McCain banner" -- make for a good chuckle, but it got me thinking -- do you know of another blog that has ever posted a list of all the awesome things people say about it?

Whom to berate next?

I was perusing the comments on our Josh Groban post to get some fodder for this article when I noticed that a loyal reader posted a new comment on it earlier this month. It reads:

c'mon you fucks! therez been too big a lull on this blog! Let's get the josh slammin' back on track so all the josh knob gobblerz world-wide
can take time out from cutting coupons and singing at funerals to spew their fury once again!

Music is over! Thanks Josh, you cunt!

Although we at the Rockist Society don't agree with the use of the c-word to describe that certain portion of the female body, the brazen commenter has a point. This blog is pretty tame, mainly because we don't want to piss off the 8 people that mistakenly click through it. I must admit that the Groban post was just to get my mug up there with JG, but it turned into something hilarious.

So, what next? Do we comment on which Jonas Brother is gay? On how Clay Aiken should sing on one-way cruise ships? Or do we aim a little higher and get a little bolder? "Hey Chris Brown, you're pretty talented... for a no-talent hack." Or maybe call out Radiohead for progressing when my band is completely one-dimensional?

If you have any suggestions, leave 'em in the comments.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Wednesday Four

Few tunes for Wednesday:

Okkervil River - "Lost Coastlines". 
New one from Okkervil River off The Stand Ins, their upcoming follow-up to TRS-certified The Stage Names.  Yeah, we kinda ripped their show at 9:30 Club last spring.  But this one's pretty good, they sort of channel a Motown (with nods to twee) thing while Will Sheff crams a few hundred words into his sprawling verses.

Cotton Jones Basket Ride - "Chewing Gum"
I thoroughly enjoyed Michael Nau's old project, Page France, finding it to fill the wacked-Christian-in-psychedelic-elementary-school-playground void ever since Neutral Milk Hotel went wherever they went.  Page France broke up, and I'm not sure why since it seemed like it was mainly Nau and Whitney's project anyhow and since the CJBR sound, umm, similar.  I missed them at Iota last week -- anybody catch the show?

Grandpaboy - "Eyes Like Sparks"
Paul Westerberg is Grandpaboy.  He just put out a solid new record, 49:00, which is getting buzz because you can pick it up for 49 cents (!), legally, on Amazon (the catch is that it comes as one continuous track.  Such a Rockist move).  It kinda plays like a radio station, Westie occasionally sliding in a few seconds of a tossed-off cover in between the actual songs.  This tune is actually from the Grandpaboy debut, Mono, which is a stellar, stellar album full of killer riff-heavy cuts of the Stones/Faces variety.  Here he gets pretty good mileage out of about 8 words and 2 minutes of the same riff.

Built to Spill - "The Plan" (live)
Again, not covering any new territory here, but on my lengthy summer road trip I had occasion to revisit BTS' Keep It Like A Secret on a brilliant sunny day Allegheny Mountains and to recall just how spectacular it is.  I think I might put it in my all time top ten albums, and, if not, then it certainly stands as one of the records that hooked me on this thing we call indie rock.  They may be touring a start-to-finish playing of Perfect From Now On (great too), but KILAS is the stronger of the two in my humble Rockist opinion.  Their latest jams may get a little tedious, but still, no one produces guitar sounds like Doug Martsch and company.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Casual Introduction to World Music*

I'm going back to school this fall in Middle East Studies, and in an effort to have a truly complete experience, I'm trying to get into some music of the region. So far it's been just a smattering of pop songs (Nanci Agram, anyone?) and Tinariwen, the desert guitar band made of Tuareg refugees. Pitchfork loves 'em. But I'm starting to branch out.

1. Rainbow Arabia - "Omar K". Okay, okay...not really Middle Eastern. In fact, it's your standard hubby/wife indie duo from LA, but they mess around with lots of ululations and Middle Eastern rhythms. Pretty cool. Also coming to DC (location TBA) on October 24.

2. Tinariwen - "Matadjem Yinmixan". These guys actually formed in refugee camps in Libya, and most of their songs deal with the plight of Tuareg people (actively seeking independence from Mali at the moment). They're also getting lots of mentions from musicians -- Craig Finn and Tad Kubler both cited them in the NYT as a recent favorite.

3. Ouled Kamar - "Gnawa Ouled" (live excerpt). Gnawa (or gnaoua) is this type of Sub-Saharan music that came up to Morocco through the slave trade. It's got a trance-like feel to it (so does most of this stuff) and is closely associated with Sufi brotherhoods. Best of all though, listen close and you hear traces of a weird kind of ancient blues. There's a big Gnawa festival in Essaouira, Morocco every year.

4. Toumast - "Kik Ayittma". Very similar to Tinariwen, and, as a newbie to the genre, I'm still hard-pressed to tell them apart. But these guys tend to be a little noisier, less trance-y. But again, I'm still new to all this.

*NOTE: Should the "rockist-ness" of this post be called into question, please refer back to the word "casual" in the title.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sooner or Later It All Gets Real

This post is seriously overdue, but I just wanted to update the Rockist faithful and let them know the reason for my recent - though not entirely uncharacteristic - lack of posting. As the architecturally savvy may have already guessed from the picture above, I've moved to Chicago. The reason for the relocation wasn't because Laura Burhenn finally got around to filing that restraining order, and it wasn't because they stopped selling Sparks in DC or something. No, it wasn't anything quite so horrifying. The fact is I've recently left the ranks of DC cube jockeys and will start grad school in the fall. While bettering myself intellectually is great and all, it may mean even more infrequent posts from yours truly. If Rob and GH will still have me, I'll stay on the masthead and try to post via Chicago (heh heh) as much as I can.

One good thing about the move, other than escaping the hegemony of the Black Cat and no longer having to pay $12 a beer at the Rock and Roll Hotel, is that Chicago is a damn fine spot for rockists. I'm personally looking forward to living within walking distance of the famed Reckless Records. A decent record store was always something I missed while living in DC, so that's a plus. Not to mention a local music scene that doesn't include that stupid band with the twins and the violins - what was their name? I really hated them.... Anyway, it seems I'll have plenty of material to write about, whether I actually do is a different story. So, yeah, keep your dials tuned to the Rockist Society for sporadic updates from the heartland.

Neil Young - "Walk On"

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New XYZ Video, EP

The XYZ Affair - "Evening Life"

Those pants are fantastically slim and Alex's moves are fantastically smooth. Bones seems pretty light on his feet, especially at the end of the video.

You can stream the new EP on their website. To go behind the music, check this out.

GH's Top Ten Kinks Songs of All Time

Inspired in part by Amanda's interesting but perhaps misguided list of the best Beatles songs and also by a recent cover story with Ray Davies in Magnet Magazine (done by none other than Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan, how's that for rockism?), I've decided to put together my top ten Kinks songs. A difficult task, but I'm up to it. Share your thoughts in the comments.

10. Dedicated Follower of Fashion - There is only one songwriter who can pen the lines "He flits from shop to shop just like a butterfly / In matters of the cloth, he is as fickle as can be" and that is Ray Davies.
9. You Really Got Me - The nasal whine of the Van Halen version doesn't do this justice; it gets the nod over like-minded riffers "All Day and All of the Night" and "Til the End of the Day" because it's what launched the Kinks into rock history. The story in Davies' autobiography X-Ray about the recording of the song is legendary and hilarious.
8. Little Miss Queen of Darkness - This has the gender-bending of "Lola" with a little more pop novelty, and also has the only recorded Mick Avery drum solo I know of.
7. Love Me Till the Sun Shines - Dave Davies was/is a great guitar player but was decidedly second-fiddle when it comes to songwriting contributions to his elder brother. Still, he deserves one spot on the list, and this rocker from Something Else beats out "Death of a Clown" with ease.
6. Muswell Hillbilly - The band went back to their roots -- blues, music hall, trad pop -- for Muswell Hillbillies (named after the neighborhood in London where they grew up). The quasi-title track found Davies dreaming of a half-mythologized America, done over rollicking country-rock licks -- a great performance by the band.
5. Australia - An underappreciated tune from an underappreciated LP, Arthur, or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire, "Australia" has everything: typical Daviesian working class longing, bits of British history, and then a psych-freakout outro not to be found anywhere else in the band's catalog.
4. Lola - Kinks for beginners maybe, but there's a reason for that. A hilarious and nearly tragic tale of...well, you know the story. As maybe the catchiest of a very catchy discography, it deserves its place on melody alone.
3. Waterloo Sunset - Thee Klassic Kinks Kut, capturing in three short minutes the whimsy, nostalgia, and heartache of Davies best pop songs. My only time in London I must've crossed Waterloo Bridge five or six times, but Davies' alchemy in turning a not particularly attractive scene (dirty old river, train station on a Friday night) into something so beautiful is pretty stunning.
2. The Village Green Preservation Society - Hard to pick one off the album of the same title ("Picture Book" and "Big Sky" running hard in second and third), but again the group's playfulness wins out. You could pick half a dozen lines, but I like "We are the Skyscraper Condemnation Affiliate / God save Tudor houses, antique tables, and billiards".
1. Victoria - I may be a member of a select (read: small) group of those that long for rock and rollers to write catchy songs about historical figures (Davy Crockett, anyone?), but Victoria could be about an old flame, a lost relative, or just sad, old England -- it doesn't matter. It opens Arthur with a thumping bass drum, Dave's proto-jangle guitar, and the shouted group vocals that elevated much of the album to anthem status. What more could you want in a Kinks song?

Honorable Mentions: "Drivin'", "Well Respected Man", "Rock and Roll Fantasy", "Stop Your Sobbing"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

TRS Look-a-like: Jason Isbell and UGA QB Matthew Stafford

Big SEC football fan here, and though my Kentucky Wildcats aren't your typical powerhouse, we all take comfort in knowing that we would be if we played in like the Big Eleven or the ACC or something.

But seriously, everybody's excited because football training camps are just getting started. Most notably ESPN, who can finally unleash Lee Corso on the general public after 9 months of lockdown in their Bristol Headquarters. Today they were doing a little bit about Georgia being the preseason #1, and it featured a little interview with QB Matthew Stafford. Who looks EXACTLY like Jason Isbell, formerly of the Drive-By Truckers. Because Isbell does not regularly smile or even make eye contact with the camera, it is difficult to compare the pictures. But give it a shot, and if you've got any others, post the links below.

Jason Isbell - "Into the Mystic" (Live, Van Morrison cover)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Breaking News: R.I.P. Georgie James

The TRS local favorite, Geogie James, has announced that they are no longer.

via www.georgiejames.com:

After three years, Georgie James is calling it a day. We're proud of the album we made and everything else that we were able to do during our time together. We are both working on our respective solo projects (John's can be found at www.myspace.com/titletracksdc and Laura's at www.myspace.com/lauraburhenn) and hope to have albums out early next year. Thanks to everyone that helped our band over these past few years. And thanks to those who've listened to the music and come out to the shows. It is greatly appreciated. See you around soon. - John and Laura/Georgie James
It's too bad. Places made it to my top 10 albums of last year. Although both John and Laura are doing solo projects, the pop powerhouse will be missed.

[from DCist]

Go Cry, Emo Kid

I came across this article today on Russia and its new emo epidemic. Looks like the Ruskies don't enjoy their kids dressing up like the Mad Max at an indie pop dance party ... This reminds me of the semi-recent Above the Influence ad campaign against indie rock, although not as extreme. It's pretty ridiculous to think that a modern country would even think about outlawing a certain style of clothing. Maybe that Putin puppet, Medvedev, took some bad X at the last Dashboard show in Moscow.

A couple of things:
These 2 kids have on the same My Chemical Romance shirts: fashion faux pas
There's a Happy Meal in the pic: EMO FAIL
Choose Life? I thought all emo kids eventually commit suicide
Does the pink sign say "Self Love"? Hopefully that wasn't part of the protest agenda.
Then again, maybe it's good that Russia is being proactive. After all,

Monday, July 14, 2008

This Week in Video: Hairy, Tattooed Guys Singing Pretty Songs Edition

It's resurrection time. Since I'm the only Rockist currently in DC yet the 2nd most frequent poster, it's time to get serious...

Speaking of serious: does anyone else find the first 30 seconds of this video creepy? C'mon, a kid in the middle of nowhere gets into a dark van just rolling down the road? "Hey kid. Do you like candy?" By the way, alpacas are cute (and are not llamas)...

Grand Archives - "Miniature Birds"

You can always count on Sub Pop for good music. Here's video #2 of theirs for the week.

Fleet Foxes - "White Winter Hymnal"

Although a little more than a week old, I figured, "Why not make it a trifecta of Sub Pop videos?" Here's one of the best opening lines to a song... not much of a video, though. It says, "Hey, our lives our better than yours. Have fun at the office, bitches."

Band of Horses - "No One's Gonna Love You"

Another One Bites The Dust

Last week our very own G.H. got engaged to his sweetheart, and indie rock aficionado, J.C. My apologies to the lady fans of TRS.

The rest of us at TRS extend our congratulations to the couple.

Drive-By Truckers - "Marry Me (live)"

NOTE: The ring pictured is not the ring given... G.H. has more taste than that.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Robert Schneider @ Morris Book Shop (Lexington, KY)

You Ain't No Picasso and some local Kentucky publications alerted me to a little solo, in-store set from Apples in Stereo leader Robert Schneider today in Lexington, my place of birth. The Morris Book Shop was having its big opening, complete with heavily iced cupcakes, cinnamon cookies, a massive bowl of colored goldfish crackers, tubs of Coke and Ale-8-One (a local ginger drink delicacy), and, natch, indie rock.

Quite the family affair, and Schneider seemed more than willing to oblige the soft-drink-sipping tikes with a loose set that included songs about lost ducks, dogs finding a way home, liking vegetables, and the usual Newton-for-Dummies that peppers the Apples catalog. That's not a complaint -- Schneider and his band have carved a large niche in my personal record collection doing just that, albeit with plenty of psych flourishes and double-backbeats. He was pretty engaging and goofy, waving hi to all the kids and trying to explain what "Tin Pan Alley" was about in terms they might understand.

He also did a fair number of Apples' classics, including a spare "Strawberryfire" (surprise there), and closed with a flurry of tunes from their last proper full-length, New Magnetic Wonder: "Skyway", "7 Stars", "Sun is Out", and "Energy". He also even broke one out from his underrated Ulysses project, "Evening Star".

Apparently the rest of the Apples arrive in the Bluegrass tomorrow to prepare for their upcoming jaunt. They won't be hitting DC, but they do have a number of other dates around the country, many with fellow Lexingtonians Big Fresh. Check them out.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Radiohead - 1995 - Live on Jools Holland

Our collective appreciation of Radiohead's DC stop (weather notwithstanding) was well-documented, but sitting at my parents house scanning their cable on-demand freebies, I came across a Jools Holland performance from 1995.  They were on with the artist formerly known as Declan MacManus and Chris Isaak (funnier than he is, err, good at music?), and later did "High and Dry" with a sweet Johnny solo, but this take on "The Bends" is about as blistering as indie rock gets.  Observe:

Friday, June 27, 2008

"With A Little Help From My Friends" by Joe Cocker (translated)

My dad forwarded this to me.  A little hokey, but pretty funny.  It's Joe Cocker's performance of the Beatles' "With A Little Help From My Friends", the "lyrics" in subtitles.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Centro-matic w/ The Glossary @ Mercy Lounge (Nashville)

As previously reported, I'm out on the road seeing the Southern and Eastern half of this large and varied nation and going to weddings.  A lot of weddings.  But it's been fun.  Went to one last Saturday in Oxford, Mississippi -- a fine and bucolic little college town which, to make a Rockist connection, both inspired Dylan's "Oxford Town" and has hosted Modest Mouse's most recent recording ventures with Dennis Herring at Sweet Tea studios -- that featured a spirited and scrappy cover band of 50-something white dudes banging out the old standards ("My Girl", "Ain't Too Proud to Beg") but also peppered it with a little Boston and a good take on "I Saw Her Standing There".  

Anyway, my loving companion and girlfriend, as a reward for biting my tongue during "Brick House" (the most tired and stupid of all wedding songs, in my opinion) and doing my best to be a good date, got us tickets to see Centro-matic in Nashville as we drove back to Kentucky from Oxford.  It had been years since I'd first seen them open for DBT in Minneapolis and I'd always wanted to get back, but sadly was missing the M's/Centro double bill at RnR hotel a week ago. Such are the sacrifices we make when we quit our jobs to drive around for a couple months.

So happy was I to see these guys that I didn't do my normal due diligence on the opening act, Murfeesboro, Tennessee's own The Glossary.  I thought they might either be like The Format or a twangified Clientele.  Instead, they opened with a ripping version of My Morning Jacket's "Evil Urges", declaring their intentions rather boldly.  Only problem is, when you OPEN with a cover of a band that writes better songs than you, it serves to illuminate the fact that your songs aren't quite as interesting.  But that probably doesn't give them enough credit -- they were quite good, a lively show with solid songs and good musicianship.  Sort of like Thin Lizzy or Marah.  I'll be tracking their progress closely -- I suggest you do the same.

Between sets I helped myself to tallboy Pabst Blue cans, one of the best early signs of a good rock club in my opinion, and settled in for Will Johnson and Company.  Though not quite the revelatory performance I recalled from Minneapolis, this one was more intimate.  They did most of my favorites ("The Mighty Midshipmen", "Flashes and Cables", but not "Janitorial on Channel Fail"), and Johnson told some funny tales from the road with a refreshing North Texas wisdom and irony.  I write that not knowing that "North Texas wisdom and irony" really means, but let's just say he addressed the crowd as "homeslices" and it was genuinely very funny.  I rarely, if ever, have any idea what he is singing about, which makes it hard since he sings a lot and uses a lot of large, un-lyric like words, but I can say that -- in concert at least -- it comes out rather pretty backed by a pop-inclined Crazy Horse thing that will probably appeal to most card-carrying Rockists.

More dispatches from the road later, but for now, check out Centro-matic's latest, Dual Hawks, a joint double LP with Johnson's other (slower) project, South San Gabriel.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Grand Archives Setlist - Rock and Roll Hotel - 6/15/08 - UPDATE

Apparently a set list isn't good enough for the DC Rock Club, so here's a little blurb...

The show was great. Other than the people who knew the band, I was probably the hairiest guy there (a couple girls game me a run for my money, though). They didn't have keys, so they played those parts by guitar (and, surprisingly, it worked). The pedal steel player from Sera Cahoone got up and played a few with GA, which was amazing. The 4 part harmonies were always on pitch and very, well, pretty. These guys are good.

miniature birds / orange juice / index moon / crazy grave (new song) / swan matches / a setting sun / sleepdriving / torn blue foam couch / liberty bell / another saturday night (sam cooke cover) / george kaminski / crime window // sundown (gordon lightfoot cover) > southern glass home

Grand Archives - "Southern Glass Home"

photo courtesy of sup pop
mp3 courtesy of