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

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hitting the Road with the High Dials

G.H. here, blogging from the wilds of Central Kentucky.  For those of you out of the loop, I quit my day job in Washington ahead of graduate school this fall, and have embarked on a two month road trip of weddings, beach vacations, and everything in between.  As G.L. noted, I'm missing a whole host of DC shows, but I hope to catch some here to make up for it.  

And since I've logged over 3500 miles in ten days, I've had ample time to catch up on some much needed listening.  The big winner?  The High Dials' War of the Wakening Phantoms.

It isn't exactly new (2005), but it's been on my radar since I first started getting into like-minded, Northern neo-psych bands like Outrageous Cherry and The Telepathic Butterflies.  All three groups came out on Rainbow Quartz (which has been pretty quiet recently), that Detroit label reknown for the lysergically-inclined releases its name suggests.  But where the Cherry dealt in a Motown-influenced psych that emphasized a steady, driving backbeat, at times the High Dials come across as the Smiths (Trevor Anderson's fey vocals included) wandering through a shoegazer/Elephant 6 fog.  War of the Wakening Phantoms -- odd album title excepted -- is universally strong though, drifting from the Moz-apeing of "The Holy Ground" to the pumped-up power pop of "Sick of the Old Fire" to the sprawling, pretty lullabye "Your Eyes Are a Door" that effectively closes out the album.  

The band's actually on the verge of releasing a new one called Moon Country, and you can stream most (all?) on their myspace page.  I've been streaming and I'm pretty impressed.  "Open Up the Gates" seems to be the obligatory MBV jam, "Clare" is the straightforward love song, and "My Heart Is Pinned to Your Sleeve" owes an axe and an affect to Britpop.  They're from Montreal and thus far only have one US tour date lined up, July 25 at Rehab in NYC.  Hopefully we'll see some kind of tour in support of this latest.  

The High Dials - "The Holy  Ground"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

R.E.M., Modest Mouse, The National Setlists - Merriweather Post (6/11/08)

Man, talk about a great evening. Beautiful weather, 3 good bands, good friends... fantastic. This is one of the few outdoor outings in the last month that didn't get torrential downpours.

It was so nice, in fact, that we missed the first couple The National songs. I asked around at the show, and most people had never heard of them before (nerds) or told me that they played "Sorry," which isn't even a song of theirs that I know of. One person told me that they started off with "Start A War," which sounds plausible. Can anyone help us with the others?

Modest Mouse was good. I left the setlist generating to Allison for that show. She loves them...

R.E.M. was superb. Michael Stipe rearranged the lyrics in "Drive," which threw me for a loop (yes, I sing along... leave me alone). During "The One I Love," disaster was averted. Stipe stumbled off an amp, almost biting it. He brushed it off, but kind of seemed perturbed; not even a smirk on his face. I was kind of disappointed that Stipe didn't perform the narrative during the bridge of Orange Crush, but I'm probably grasping at straws.

The encore was quite political. Mr. Richards was dedicated to Dick (the attempted murderer quail hunter, not Tricky). After the song, he said they partnered with Amnesty International and Environmental Action before putting on an Obama button and declaring Barack would be the next president (to many cheers, of course).


Finest Worksong / Living Well Is The Best Revenge / Bad Day / What's The Frequency Kenneth / Drive / Ignoreland / Man-Sized Wreath / Little America / Hollow Man / Walk Unafraid / Houston / Electrolite / Don't Go Back To Rockville / Pop Song '89 / Horse To Water / The One I Love / Driver 8 / Until The Day Is Done / Let Me In (Acoustic) / These Days / Orange Crush / I'm Gonna DJ // Supernatural Superserious / Losing My Religion / Mr. Richards / Fall On Me (w/ Johnny Marr) / Man On The Moon

Modest Mouse*
Invisible / Satin In A Coffin / I Came As A Rat / Fly Trapped In A Jar / Trucker's Atlas / Out Of Gas / Dance Hall / Float On / King Rat / The View / Dashboard

The National
Start A War / ??? / ??? / Baby We'll Be Fine / Slow Show / Mistaken For Strangers / Squalor Victoria / Racing Like A Pro / Fake Empire / Mr. November

*Thanks to Allison for the Modest Mouse assignment.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stay Positive, Dude

Leave it to our good friends at DC Rock Club to totally scoop us on this one, but better them than anyone else, I suppose. Anyway, The Hold Steady are currently streaming their latest album, Stay Positive, in its entirety. I haven't had a chance to make it all the way through the album yet, but I know that when we posted "Sequestered in Memphis" all three of us kinda had the same reaction - that it was positively 'meh'. I mean, we always knew there was a distinct Hold Steady formula, but now it's like they're not even trying. Oh well. Their first two albums were great and the third was decent - what more can you ask for really? Take a listen and let us know what you think in the comments.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Rockist Society Officially Loves RnR Hotel, June

This June kinda rules. First off, Euro 2008 starts tomorrow, which for the uninitiated is like the World Cup, but a total upgrade since it's only European squads (translation: no crappy Asian and Central American teams ruining things). And then, since this is a music blog, there are a lot of pretty badass, Rockist-approved shows, all of which are taking place at the Rock and Roll Hotel. If only the RnR Hotel weren't so annoying to get to and if their drinks were cheaper, it'd probably be our fave venue. They serve Sparks, after all. Without further ado, this is where you can find me when I'm not at Lucky Bar:

Sunday, June 15: The Grand Archives. Pretty melodic rock, a bit on the softer side. Share similar influences as The Pernice Brothers. Frontman is former Carissa's Wierd/Band of Horses guitarist, Mat Brooke.

Wednesday, June 18: Superb double bill with Centro-matic and The M's. Really excited about this one, as any self-respecting Rockist would be. I've seen Centromatic open up for Drive-By Truckers, so it'll be cool to see them stretch out a bit more as the headliner. Haven't heard The M's new album yet, but if it's half as good as the retro-y and glammy Future Women, then we're in for a treat.

Wednesday, June 25: This might be the show I'm most excited about. Times New Viking bring their brand of, um, shitgaze (I swear I didn't make that up) to the Hotel and it'll be a sweaty affair, I'm sure. Put your Schlitz (Schlitzes?) in the fridge now.

*Times New Viking photo courtesy of Matador Records

Prince Still Wears His Purple Suit?

So my boss came back from the AIHce '08 Expo in Minneapolis today and announced that Prince played a song in the opening ceremonies. I was pretty surprised that Prince would actually give a hoot about industrial hygiene, so I had to find a video. And I did...

That's not Prince.

I'm embarrassed to be in the industry.