Thursday, December 22, 2005

Top 10 List of 2005

The holidays and lots of work have really made it difficult to blog. But here's my favorite music of 2005.....

1) Sufjan Stevens’ ILLINOIS – I enjoyed a few songs off of Michigan, but never expected this. It would have been even stronger if he had cut about 15 minutes of filler. Key tracks: “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” and “The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts.”

2) Spoon’s GIMME FICTION – He draws inspiration from bands most indie rockers pretend they don’t listen to. Key tracks: “I Summon You” and “I Turn My Camera On.”

3) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH – I seem to like it more each time I hear it. I put it away for a couple of months and recently picked it up again. Key tracks: “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth” and “Over and Over Again (Lost and Found).”

4) Fruit Bats’ SPELLED IN BONES – Just some solid Shins-esque indie pop. Key tracks: “Born in the 70s” and “Lives of Crime.”

5) My Morning Jacket’s Z – I always hated their records but liked their live shows. Finally they cut out all the jams and got to the point. Key tracks: “Anytime” and “It Beats For You.”

6) Broken Social Scene’s BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE – They really need to quit messing around and make a consistent record. Maybe they feel the sloppiness is part of their charm? Key tracks: “7/4 (Shoreline)” and “Superconnected.”

7) Low’s THE GREAT DESTROYER – The first song is “Monkey” and the second song is “California.” That’s a great start in my eyes. Producer Dave Fridmann probably deserves a lot of credit for the sound of this record. Key tracks: “California” and “Everybody’s Song.”

8) Pernice Brothers’ DISCOVER A LOVELIER YOU – This record was a little disappointing when I first got it, but only because my expectations were so high. Key tracks: “My So-Called Celibate Life” and “There Goes the Sun.”

9) The Foxymorons’ HESITATION EYES – Sure they’re friends of mine, but I would have really liked this anyway. Key tracks: “Harvard Hands” and “Hesitation Eyes.”

10) Rogue Wave’s DESCENDED LIKE VULTURES – Just some solid Shins-esque indie pop. Key tracks: “10:1” and “Love’s Lost Guarantee.”

Other stuff I recommend: The Earlies’ THESE WERE THE EARLIES, The New Pornographers’ TWIN CINEMA, A Band of Bees’ FREE THE BEES, Dios (Malos) S/T, Iron & Wine/Calexico’s IN THE REINS, The Boy Least Likely To’s BEST PARTY EVER, Bonnie “Prince” Billy/Matt Sweeney’s SUPERWOLF

Monday, December 12, 2005

Live Music Picks 12/12-12/13

I made it out to Spaceland for a little while last night. I saw a bit of Everybody Else (they're ok, a straight-ahead rock band that I've seen before) but unfortunately missed The Good Listeners. I didn't realize that the Honey Brothers featured one of the stars of HBO's ENTOURAGE. The valet lot was full, lots of really dressed up girls and not that many people really drinking. The music wasn't bad (some Talking Heads-inspired stuff) but the crowd made it tough to take so I can't really fully comment.

Aberdeen City / Groovie Ghoulies / Chixdiggit! / The Colour @ Spaceland [FREE] - For fans of more upbeat music. This is my choice if you're up for hearing some free bands and drinking some cheap PBR. Chixdiggit! and Groovie Ghoulies are punk-pop bands (Descendents and Ramones-esque respectively). Aberdeen City is a pretty good indie rock band from Boston influenced by Radiohead and U2. The Colour is Spaceland's December residents. They sound kind of boring.
Download Aberdeen City's "In Combat"

The Grabs / Gliss / Cold War Kids @ Silverlake Lounge [FREE] - For the local music scenesters. The Grabs feature Eleni Mandell on vocals, the bass player from Blondie and the guitar player from W.A.C.O. Gliss plays dreamy rock and has toured with Billy Corgan and BRMC in Europe. Cold War Kids are playing the Monday night residency in December.
Download Cold War Kids' "The Soloist in the Living Room"

Lion Fever @ the Echo [FREE] - For people with a high tolerance for annoying/gothish music. Listen for yourself. They're signed to Dim Mak records and they're the free Monday night residency in December.

Emmylou Haris @ Walt Disney Concert Hall [$26-66] - For fans of Christmas music. I love Emmylou Harris and it's pretty wild sitting in the Disney Concert Hall but I'm too cheap to go. Let me know how it is.

Lucinda Williams / Son Volt @ the Roxy [$22.50] - For alternative country fans. This lineup is just too weird. Phantom Planet and Marjorie Fair are also on it. I think Lucinda is great, but I can't deal with the Strip and all the other bands. Apparently she's also palying at the House of Blues tonight. She gets around.

The Shore / Innaway / Marjorie Fair @ Silverlake Lounge [$10] - For the regular rock fans. Three local bands...the Shore were on Maverick but they're looking for a new deal. Innaway is hot off a tour with Echo & the Bunnymen. Marjorie Fair is on the Decembrists' label, Capitol Records.
Download Innaway's "You Know Everytime"

Charlie Haden @ the Echo [$25-27] - For the jazz fans.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

I didn't make it out last night - just caught up on some reading so I could wake up early. That's the Honey Brothers (playing Sunday at Spaceland) on the left.

Mellowdrone / The Lashes / The Divorce @ Spaceland - For the rock'n'roll fans. Mellowdrone is a local band that has a classic Radiohead/Muse type of sound. The Lashes are a bratty rock band with haircuts and clothes. The Divorce are also from Seattle but a little more emo/anthemic.
Download Mellowdrone's "Fashionably Uninvited"
Download the Lashes' "Death By Mixtape"

Merle Jagger @ The Mint - For country fans. It's the Sin City night at the Mint. Merle Jagger is an upbeat instrumental country band. If you're mainly interested in Merle Jagger I recommend you see them on Saturday at Sea Level Records for free.

The Good Listeners / Jesca Hoop @ El Cid [$10] - For the public radio crowd. Tom Waits has apparently said some nice things about Jesca Hoop. The Good Listeners are mellow and sound decent (maybe a little like the Eels?). You can sample both on their web sites (but they don't offer any MP3s). The Good Listeners will also be at Spaceland on Sunday.

Merle Jagger @ Sea Level Records 3:00 PM [FREE] - See above. It's free. Buy some Christmas presents while you're there.

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) @ the El Rey [$19] - For the dance-punk fans. They have grooves that get indie kids dancing.
Download a sample of !!!'s "Take Ecstacy with Me"
Download a sample of !!!'s "Hello? Is This Thing On?"

The Good Listeners / The Honey Brothers @ Spaceland [$10] - For the indie rock fans. See comments above for the Good Listeners. New York City's The Honey Brothers have a good sense of humor, a ukelele or two and some catchy songs.

Mark Gardener (of Ride) / Goldrush @ Knitting Factory [$12] - For the Brit pop fans.

The Brokedown @ Tangier [$8] - For the indie pop fans.
Download the Brokedown's "Down in the Valley"

Alan McGee (DJ set) @ the Echo [FREE] For the brit pop fans who aren't at Mark Gardener. Alan McGee founded Creation Records (Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, Felt, My Bloody
Valentine, Ride, Teenage Fanclub, Oasis, Super Furry Animals).

Depeche Mode / The White Stripes / Death Cab For Cutie / Coldplay / Hot Hot Heat / Nada Surf / The Bravery / Jack Johnson @ Gibson Amphitheatre [SOLD OUT] - For the KROQ people. I had front row tickets for Depeche Mode in Bonner Springs, KS in about 1992. They were great, but that was about 14 years ago. I've seen the White Stripes a bunch of times at the Troubadour, at Emo's, at the Greek. Each time it's less and less interesting. I've seen DCFC a ton of times at Emo's and smaller places I don't remember anymore and I'm not even a big fan. I've seen Coldplay at the El Rey and Coachella and I'm not even a fan. I've seen Hot Hot Heat at La Zona Rosa and I'm not really a fan at all. I've seen the Bravery at Spaceland and I walked out after two songs. Jack Johnson just makes me feel icky. Why's he even part of this lineup?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Live Music Options - Thursday

I made it out to the Paper Magazine/Dim Mak party last night. The open bar part was nice - free Svedka Vodka and Amstel Light. Loads of hipsters. I saw the lead singer of dios(malos), Jason Faulkner, Rolan Bolan and a lot of the other usual suspects.

The Probe @ Spaceland - For the punk rock fan. The lead singer is a really good guy. You should check 'em out and buy him a drink at the bar.

Shooter Jennings @ Troubadour [$15] - For the country music fan. He's Waylon Jennings' son (and played his daddy in WALK THE LINE). He doesn't seem to have the outlaw sound of his dad, but maybe he has more edge live?

Tosca & Richard Dorfmeister @ The Vanguard [$30] - For the downtempo jetsetter. The leading names in downtempo live in Los Angeles. Breakout the Armani suits and grab a coctail.

The Rapture @ Viper Room [$13] - For the postpunk, dancey fan. If you missed them last night...good luck with the parking and the drink prices on the Strip.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Live Music Picks

I slept on posting Monday and Tuesday picks. Sorry.

Freakwater @ Spaceland [$10] - For the Americana/Country fan. These women have been doing it for over 15 years. Lots of good collaborations over the years and tributes to the Louvins, Carter Family, Woody Guthrie and many others.

The Rapture @ Troubadour [SOLD OUT] - For the dance-y rock fan. I saw them when their hype was at its peak at SXSW some years ago. I wasn't impressed, but maybe you will be.

MF Doom @ the El Rey [SOLD OUT] - For the backpack hip hop fan. This should be a good party. DangerDoom and Madvillian are there. I went to an Adult Swim at Comic-Con one year and Danger Mouse was the DJ. It was a good time.

Lion Fever / Foreign Born @ Acme - For people who refer to themselves as hipsters. This event is sponsored by Paper Magazine and it's called Hipster Heaven. I think there might be some free drinks?

Live Music Review: The Earlies

So last Friday I finally made it out of my house for some live music at the Echo. The show opened with Great Northern. I had recently seen them open for Brendan Benson at Spaceland but I didn't pay much attention. They share some members with Earlimart (but not Aaron Espinoza) and sound quite a bit like Earlimart. There's also bits of Grandaddy, the Flaming Lips and the Beatles in their sound. I enjoyed it. Next up was Idaho Falls. The leader of Idaho Falls is Neil Halstead's (from Mojave 3 and Slowdive) pedal steel player. I like the pedal steel moments on Halstead's records and I like the music of Idaho Falls. My only real problem with them is the slightly affected way that Raymond sings the songs. He sings with a twang that he probably doesn't have when he speaks. It's the same thing that bugs me about early Jeff Tweedy. Finally the Earlies came on (at about 12:15 AM). I'm old and I was anxious to get home to bed so they had to be good to keep my attention. Fortunately they were. They opened with two of the best songs off of their album. There were eight people on stage and many of them played multiple instruments. This included strings, keys, horns, guitars, drums, bass, triangle, etc. Very full and great live sound. You've got to appreciate that kind of ambition on a tour of small clubs. There are about five really good songs on their album and they played all of them. They rounded it out with some stuff I didn't recognize. Normally I don't like to go out on Friday night, but the Earlies were well worth it. See them if they make it to your town. I even stopped by the merch table to pick up a picture disc 7". The full length vinyl comes with a really nice book. If I hadn't bought the expensive import of the CD I would have picked that up too.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Weekend Live Music Picks

I apologize for the slow week of posting. It's been really chaotic. Here are some picks for the weekend. That's the Earlies in the picture on the left.

The Earlies / The Idaho Falls / Great Northern @ the Echo [$10] - For the indie rock fan who likes spacey, psychedelic stuff. I've written about the Earlies before. Half of their album is really inspired and interesting and the other half is just ok. They haven't toured much so tonight is the night to see them. This is my choice for the night.
Download The Idaho Falls' "California Day"

The 88 @ Troubadour [$12] - For the pop fan. I've written about them a bunch too and I've even reviewed their record. They seem to play around a lot, but it's always good to put some money in their pockets.

The Wrens @ Troubadour [$13] - For the maudlin, indie rock fan. I really like about five songs on their 2003 album MEADOWLANDS. I hope they're working on a new album. This is just a mini West coast tour. This is my choice for the night.
Download "Everyone Chooses Sides"

Ariel Pink / Tsar / The Adored @ Spaceland [$10] - For supporters of local music. This is a weird lineup with very different types of bands. The LA Weekly put this together. Tsar is a glammy punk-pop band. Ariel Pink is a freaky hippie with experimental tendencies (on the Animal Collective label). The Adored has more of a Buzzcocks vibe. The track below even has Pete Shelley on guest vocals.
Download the Adored's "TV Riot"
Download Ariel Pink's "The Doldrums"

Nebula @ Knitting Factory [$10/$12 DOS] - For the stoner rock fan. Heavy music with big guitar riffs.
Download Nebula's "Atomic Ritual"

Calvin Johnson @ the Smell [$5] - For the indie rock fan who tolerates bad singing. I just can't get over his voice (about the most I can take is his contribution on Beck's ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE album). His label (K Records) has released some great stuff by other bands.

Live Music Review: No-Neck Blues Band

Last night I stumbled upon the No-Neck Blues Band @ Spaceland. What a bunch of garbage. You've really got to question Thurston Moore when he says a band of hippies like that is the best band in the universe ever. Completely unlistenable crap. Noodle-on back to Brooklyn fellas.