Oct 27, 2005

np: "Publish My Love" - Rogue Wave

Wow. I love it when a band completely surprises me with a tune that knocks me right off my feet. When a great tune virtually pops up out of nowhere, smacks you on the face, and instantly makes you fall in love with it. The type of tune that works its way into your head from the start and you find yourself randomly humming it during trips to the copier.
I first heard Rogue Wave when WOXY (great online station that I highly recommend) played "Kicking the Heart Out", off of last year's Out of the Shadow. I liked the song quite a bit, but for some reason the rest of the debut never really clicked with me. It certainly is pleasant enough, and I could see how some might love it, but I never got fully excited about the album or the band. So I really wasn't paying much attention to these guys this year, although I was vaguely aware that they were going to be releasing something new. But then I started reading some major chatter regarding this tune courtesy of several different message boards I frequent from time to time. I figured with so many accolades being thrown around, it would be a song worth checking out. I'm glad I did, it's quickly turning into one of my favorite songs of the last couple months - and surprisingly, it's not even the album's lead single (that would be the also good, but not as beautiful, "10:1"). This song was enough to spark a new interest in the band for me, and I've since spent a lot of quality time with the excellent Descended Like Vultures. But enough about me, let's get you excited about this song. As usual, click on the link below the picture and give it a spin for yourself. Then head on over to Sub Pop and buy the album. Or the single. Or their debut. Support your favorite (mega) indie labels.

(A quick note about the songs I provide: These are meant for evaluation purposes only, so I can spread the word about music that deserves to be heard. They will only be available for a limited time and will not be reposted once expired. I will also provide links to where you can purchase work from these artists, so that we can all continue to support them. If you are or represent one of the artists for any of the songs I've posted and you do not want it shared, please let me know and it will be removed. Thanks. Enjoy. And please, please support these bands and artists.)

Oct 25, 2005

np: "Biology" - Girls Aloud

Nothing like a great pop song to brighten up the dark and rainy days of late October, when an extra spring in the step is a much desired thing. UK pop queens Girls Aloud have been providing us with hits to launch that extra spring for a couple of years now, tossing off excellent singles such as "Sound of the Underground", "Love Machine", and my personal favorite "The Show". These girls might be unfamiliar to most of you readers in the States, which is unfortunate because these girls deserve just as much praise as the Spice Girls got on this side of the pond back in the day. You may have caught an earful of them in the movie Love Actually though, as it was these very girls that provided the superb cover of the Pointer Sisters' "Jump (For My Love)" for the soundtrack (unfortunately not included on the US version). Anyway, exciting news trickled out this week about the girls preparing a new album for release before 2006 is upon us. Also spreading around the internet like peanut butter on bread is their latest single, "Biology", the perfect genre-mashing antidote for a crappy day. Click on the link below the picture to hear it for yourself though. It's not as spectacular as "Long Hot Summer", from earlier this year, but its still a great pop tune in a long line of great Girls Aloud pop tunes. Hopefully someday soon the success of these ladies will translate to their albums being available here in the States, but until then we'll just have to savor what little tastes we can grab or pay the crazy import prices.

Oct 21, 2005

np: "life during wartime" - talking heads

I've been listening to the new Talking Heads boxset, Brick, the last couple of days and I've been simply astounded by how great this band's first four albums are. The run from 77 to More Songs About Buildings & Food to Fear of Music to Remain in Light is pretty much unstoppable, each full of great songs from start to finish and nary a dud in the bunch. I've been trying to think of bands that have been able to match that same great consistency over their first four albums, but its not as easy as it may sound. As much as I love the Beatles and Stones, they didn't put out solid albums until later in their careers - they were far more singles oriented at the beginning. After much thought, I was only able to come up with two bands that matched that criteria - the Velvet Undergound and Pavement. Sure there have been lots of great four album runs, but not starting with the debut. Anybody you think I might have overlooked? Leave a comment below and educate me.

Also, my reviews of the Dead 60s debut and the latest from Robert Plant are now up at Static.

Oct 13, 2005

np: "solid gold animal collection" - guided by voices

Yeah, it's been far too long... things have been a little hectic around here. Been working on a couple of different projects, including a big mix set for a friend's wedding rehearsal dinner, so blogging kind of dropped to a low spot on the priority list. After all the mushy love songs and calm dinner music I've been exposed to for most of the week due to the aforementioned project, I decided that I needed to spend some time with some slack-ass rock and roll. Luckily, Bob Pollard and Guided by Voices just released 100 songs of just that - Suitcase 2. Following the form of the original Suitcase, this collects 100 more rarities, demos, and what have you from the late '70s right up to 2005. Like most of Pollard's output this stuff is very hit or miss - but that's to be expected. And since GBV is no more, I'll take what I can get. You can read more about this over at Pitchfork, along with exciting news about Bob's new solo joint and signing to Merge. I'm glad he's got a new label, but I'm a little disappointed because Matador and GBV were always linked in my mind. They, along with Pavement, were some of the earliest indie bands that I really grew to love and follow - so it just seems natural to see the little Matador flag flying on the majority of Pollard's stuff. I'll get used to it, and best of luck to him in his solo career.

And, for those of you that care to read such things, my review of the recent Cursive collection is up at Static. Read it here.

Oct 5, 2005

np: "everlong" - foo fighters

So thanks to the birthday present from my wonderful girlfriend, I hit up Allstate Arena on Monday night to check out the Foo Fighters / Weezer tour. It was a pretty fun night of reliving the mid-90s alt-rock years with two bands that still know how to put on one hell of an arena rock experience.
Kaiser Chiefs opened up the show and did a pretty decent job considering 85-90% of the crowd either didn't know them or didn't give a rat's ass about them. But after a little goading by the lead singer, the crowd was actually into it by the time they hit a peak on "Oh My God". I think I wouldn't mind seeing them again at a cheap club show. Better than expected.
Then we waited through your average arena-rock show setbreak for the mighty Weez. They kicked off with "My Name Is Jonas" before launching into a rather long string of songs off the last couple albums. Yawn. Ok, so it wasn't THAT bad - but I'd love a set of all Blue Album/Pinkerton material. They did break out "El Scorcho" though, so I was happy as was I with the cover of the Foo's "Big Me" - which was pretty good and better than 80% of the tracks Rivers has written recently. I hope he was paying attention. The last half of the set was more evenly balanced with older songs - "Surf Wax America", "Buddy Holly", "Say It Ain't So" (still love hearing a huge crowd singing along with that one). Then the drummer was brought up front to sing "Photograph" which morphed into the first half of Blur's "Song 2". For the first part of the encore, Rivers disappeared for a bit and popped up at the rear of the floor area for a solo acoustic "Island in the Sun" - it was decent enough and all the kiddies on the floor ran back to see him so we were able to move a lot closer to the stage. For the rest of the encore they did the "pull a random kid from the audience" to play the acoustic guitar part on "The Sweater Song" and followed it up with "Hash Pipe", which ended with tons of 'W' stamped confetti shooting into the crowd. Cool rock star show ending, but I'd rather have heard them end with "The Good Life".
Another set-break and the Foos were out. They had a pretty cool stage setup with tons and tons of amps/speakers piled haphazardly behind them and all sorts of funky-shaped screens. It started off with this circular screen obscuring the stage that rose up to reveal the band as they tore into "In Your Honor". Most of the set was taken from the last three albums and definitely focused on the band's rockier side. Dave was screaming his head off the whole time. I'll admit that the dude is one hell of a showman and loves to make sure the kids get their forty bucks worth. Particular highlights for me were an awesome version of "Stacked Actors" which saw Dave pull the same pop up on the other side of the floor trick that Rivers used, and a mostly solo "Everlong" that the rest of the band joined in on later. Dave told a cool story about being in Chicago when he was a kid and seeing his first punk show at the Cubby Bear, Naked Raygun and said that show was what motivated him to play punk rock. I'll admit that we were lame and left before the encore since the main-set ending "Everlong" was what we all wanted to hear anyway, plus we were hungry as hell and wanted to beat the post-show rush.
Overall, fun night at the rock show. Lots of loud music, lasers, smoke, and decent tunes. But I remember why I don't hit up those type of arena shows very often.
And for those interested in such things, here's the setlists for the main two bands:

My Name is Jonas
The Other Way
Don't Let Go
Dope Nose
This is Such a Pity
Big Me (Foo Fighters cover)
Perfect Situation
Why Bother?
El Scorcho
Say It Ain't So
We Are All on Drugs
Surf Wax America
Beverly Hills
Buddy Holly
Photograph/Song 2 (Blur cover)
Island in the Sun
Hash Pipe

In Your Honor
All My Life
My Hero
Best Of You
Learn To Fly
Up In Arms
Times Like These
Stacked Actors
This Is A Call
End Over End
Cold Day In The Sun