Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Live Review: My Bloody Valentine @ The Aragon Ballroom (9/27/08, Chicago, IL)

(My Bloody Valentine - "I Only Said" - Live at the Aragon Ballroom - 9/27/08)

Download: My Bloody Valentine - "Cigarette In Your Bed"

At Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom, a legendary group took the stage after being away from both live and recorded music for 17 years. The quartet, My Bloody Valentine, a British band who helped re-define psychedelic music by wholly inventing a subgenre that continues to shape and influence independent music today, demonstrated to an enraptured audience how it was possible for songs that were 20 years old to remain vital, contemporary, and awe-inspiring. Using a Berlin-Wall-of-Sound, My Bloody Valentine played songs from a masterpiece in sound that still resonates greatly today.

And the songs from Loveless didn’t sound half bad either.

The biggest surprise from My Bloody Valentine’s 13-song set wasn’t that the band gave what many regarded as an incredible, ear-shattering live performance. Rather, it was the fact that the material from 1988’s Isn’t Anything was what ultimately held up best in the context of that live performance. After opening with two Loveless tracks—the mid-tempo “I Only Said” and “When You Sleep”--, the band absolutely tore into “(When You Sleep) You’re Still In A Dream”, a deep cut from the aforementioned Anything. It was on these upbeat tracks that the band was at its most tight rhythmically. Bassist Debbie Googe and Drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig were in absolute lockstep, creating a thrilling foundation on which guitarists Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher could create their vast tapestry of sound.

The minor problem, then, was when the band tried to create some semblance of dynamics on Loveless tracks like “Come In Alone”. On that track, the night’s only real disappointment, the sheer density of the wall-of-sound dropped out when Kevin Shields solely played the whirring main melody on his guitar. That resulted in a lot of empty sonic space, which is a killer in momentum for songs that are so clearly based on epic soundscapes. This is probably why the Isn’t Anything tracks were the best, because they were closer to traditional (but still forward-thinking) rock sounds, rather than the fever-dream sound collages of Loveless.

That said, one highlight came in the form of You Made Me Realize EP track “Cigarette In Your Bed”, during which the band regained an impressive command of dynamics that had eluded them during “Alone”. To see a band that was playing as loudly as MBV was don an acoustic guitar to successfully play what was, in the context of the set, a straightforward ballad was impressive.

In a set loaded with highlights, it was on Loveless’ more upbeat songs, such as “Only Shallow” and “Soon”, as well as on Anything tracks like “Feed Me With Your Kiss”, that the grandiose guitar shined brightest, and were the main causes of the band’s pulse-pounding live show. Part of the reason for the live show’s success was due to the increased presence of the drums. In mixing Loveless, Shields and his engineers buried both the drums and vocals to create an air of ethereality. Live, the drums were much higher in the mix, which allowed some songs—namely, the material from Anything—to get a greater “oomph”.

Lastly, but certainly not least, was the infamous “You Made Me Realize”, with it’s the 15-20 minute white-noise section in between. Basically, hearing this section live was like experiencing the end of Eraserhead and 2001 simultaneously. I’m still not entirely sure that’s a compliment, but it did make for a memorable concert moment—particularly after watching dozens of people walk out after minute 10.

While My Bloody Valentine gave a performance that surely be remembered by everyone who experienced it, the show also presented an opportunity for fans to re-evaluate MBV’s debut album, Isn’t Anything, insofar as that was the material that shone brightest amongst a set heavy with highlights. Truly, it was a show not to have been missed.

MBV MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on MFR.

Video: My Bloody Valentine - "I Only Said" (Live at the Aragon Ballroom - 9/27/08)

Expect a review later today.

Shearwater Announce New Digital EP, MP3, Tour Dates

Download: Shearwater - "The Snow Leopard"

Of all the majestic tracks of Shearwater's masterful fifth album, Rook, the one that's most impressive, in terms of song dynamics and building to an unforgettable crescendo, is "The Snow Leopard". One of the closing tracks off of Rook, "Leopard" features a band at its creative peak. So it's fitting, then, that the song is the focal point of a new, digital-only, EP the band plays an releasing in just a few short weeks time. The new EP will include "The Snow Leopard", two covers ("So Bad" by Baby Dee and "Henry Lee", an American traditional), and a whole slew of tracks from radio sessions (including a pair recorded at a certain beloved Minnesotan institution). Check out the tracklisting below:

The Snow Leopard digital EP
(available from all digital stores October 14):

1. The Snow Leopard (album version)
2. So Bad (iTunes bonus track)
3. North Col (vinyl and iTunes bonus track)
4. Henry Lee (live from KUT)
5. Rooks (live from Radio K)
6. I Was A Cloud (live from Radio K)
7. South Col / The Snow Leopard (live from Florence Gould Hall, NYC)

And Tour Dates Via Matablog:

Mon, Oct 13 Chicago IL - Lakeshore Theater - with Hospital Ships
Tue, Oct 14 Cleveland OH - Beachland Tavern - with Hospital Ships
Wed, Oct 15 Washington DC - Kennedy Ctr — Millennium Stage, 7 PM, FREE
Fri, Oct 17 Annandale NY - Bard College
Sun, Oct 19 Boston MA - Cafe 939 at Berklee - with Hospital Ships
Mon, Oct 20 New York NY - Le Poisson Rouge
Fri, Oct 24 Asheville NC - Grey Eagle (stripped-down set)
Sat, Oct 25 Durham NC - Duke Coffee House (stripped-down set)
Sun, Oct 26 Atlanta GA - Drunken Unicorn (stripped-down set)
Fri, Nov 7 Brussels BE - Botanique
Sat, Nov 8 Antwerp BE De Nachten
Sun, Nov 9 Utrecht NL - Tivoli
Mon, Nov 10 Rouen FR - Club 106 - with Silver Mt. Zion
Tue, Nov 11 Paris FR - Le Bataclan with Silver Mt. Zion
Wed, Nov 12 Feyzin FR - L’Epicerie Moderne
Thu, Nov 13 St-Gallen CH - Palace
Fri, Nov 14 Lausanne CH - Le Romandie
Sun, Nov 16 Schorndorf DE - Manufaktur
Mon, Nov 17 Berlin DE - Postbahnhof with Okkervil River
Tue, Nov 18 Dresden DE - Beatpol
Wed, Nov 19 Hamburg DE - Nachtasyl
Thu, Nov 20 Ghent BE - Vooruit
Fri, Nov 21 The Hague NL - Crossing Borders Festival
Sat, Nov 22 London UK - St. Giles in the Fields Church
Sun, Nov 23 Coventry UK - Taylor John’s House
Mon, Nov 24 Brighton UK - Komedia

Rook is out now.
The Snow Leopard is out October 16th.

Shearwater MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on MFR

Show Announcement: Brilliant Pebbles @ The Empty Bottle

Friday, September 26, 2008

Aleks And The Drummer Announce Pop Montreal Set

New Music Playlist: The Gentle Guest, Lambchop, Shawn Hewitt, Kid Sister, Jeremy Messersmith, and more!

(Kid Sister)

Download: The Gentle Guest - "Down At The Still"
Download: Shawn Hewitt - "Keep Them At Bay"
Download: La Rocca - "Sing Her Song"
Download: Jeremy Messersmith - "Skyway" (Speaking of The Replacements)
Download: Kid Sister - "Family Reunion"
Download: Vince P - "Walking Down The Block"
Download: Lambchop - "National Talk Like a Pirated Day"
Download: White/Light - "Monadnock"

I've decided to compile a collection of new MP3s that have come my way in the last couple of days. Here now is a brief rundown of the artists: The Gentile Guest, a raucous, whiskey-soaked throwback Americana group from Eau Claire, Wis; Canadian electro-soulster Shawn Hewitt, with the first track off of his upcoming Spare Hearts disc; Vanilla Irish indie-folk-pop group La Rocca, whose music has been featured on One Tree Hill; Chicago hip-hop artist and Kanye West collaborator Kid Sister; Eccentric electro-hip-hop artist Vince P; Minneapolis singer-songwriter Jeremy Messersmith covering The Replacements on The Current; Lambchop's first single from their upcoming album; and finally, Chicago dronemeisters White/Light.

Listen to all the songs at the top of the post.

(Jonathan Graef)

A version of this post has been cross-published on MFR.

Sunday: Chandeliers Record Release Show @ The Hideout

Download: Chandeliers - "Mango Tree"
Download: Chandeliers - "Big League"

The Hideout
Sunday September 28th at 9:00
Count Bass D
performing live with
Josh Abrams and Jeff Parker
DJ Josh Abrams

Read the Reader profile on Chandeliers here

(Chandeliers - Light Slip (Bamboo)

Tonight: Flosstradamus @ Sonotheque

Tours: El Guincho


11-20 Los Angeles, CA - Echo
11-21 San Francisco, CA - The Independent
11-22 Vancouver, British Columbia - The Red Room
11-23 Portland, OR- Holocene
11-24 Seattle, WA - Nectar Lounge
11-25 Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
11-27 Toronto, Ontario - El Mocambo
11-28 Montreal, Quebec - Les Saints
11-30 Philadelphia, PA - The Barbary
12-02 New York, NY - LPR

(El Guincho - "Palmitos Park")

El Guincho MySpace Page

Woman Who Killed Dials, Silkworm Drummer To Go Free

Pic via Trib

Via the Tribune:

Jeanette Sliwinski, a former trade-show model convicted of reckless homicide in a July 2005 crash that killed three men in a suicide attempt, is scheduled to be released from prison Oct. 2, less than halfway into her 8-year sentence.

Friends and families of the victims, along with a former Skokie police officer who investigated the case, expressed outrage at Sliwinski's release, even though her sentence reduction follows the law...

Prosecutors had charged Sliwinski with three counts of first-degree murder, one each for the deaths of...Michael Dahlquist, 39, John Glick, 35, and Douglas Meis, 29. They asked for a 30-year sentence.

The victims, all from Chicago, were musicians, friends and co-workers who were out for lunch when Sliwinski crashed her Mustang into their Honda Civic. She suffered a broken ankle.

The article goes on to explain the legality of Sliwinski's early release, and quotes friends, family, and the investigative officer of the case, Brent Fowler. About the psychological treatment that Sliwinski received in prison (the basis for her early release), and the lack of it that she supposedly received in her adult life, Fowler said "If (treatment wasn't) effective in her early 20s, how much more effective is 10 months going to be?...She took the life of three innocent people who were going to lunch. If that's not a travesty of justice, I don't know what is."

Truer words were never spoken.

(Jonathan Graef)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tours: Marnie Stern

Info via KRS Blog:

Download: Marnie Stern - "Transformer"

November 2008
3 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle - w/ Gang Gang Dance

4 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry - w/ Gang Gang Dance
5 - Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall - w/ Gang Gang Dance
7 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge - w/ Gang Gang Dance
8 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court - w/ Gang Gang Dance
10 - Seattle, WA @ Triple Door - w/ Gang Gang Dance
11 - Vancouver, BC, Canada @ Biltmore Theater - w/ Gang Gang Dance
12 - Portland, OR @ Berbati's Pan - w/ Gang Gang Dance
14 - San Francisco, CA @ Bimbos - w/ Gang Gang Dance
15 - Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theater - w/ Gang Gang Dance

Marnie Stern MySpace Page

(Marnie Stern - "Every Single Line Means Something")

New Walter Meego - "Forever" (Van She Tech Remix)

Download: Walter Meego - "Forever" (Van She Tech Remix)

Off all of the techo-pop songs on Walter Meego's debut album Voyager, "Forever: seems especially suited for the remix treatment. Perhaps its the anthemic chorus, or the anime-ready synths, or just the freewheeling atmosphere of fun. Point is, there's a certain je nois se quoi about "Forever", even if its one of the least interesting songs on the album (in comparison to tracks like "Through A Keyhole"). Van She Tech are the latest group of remixers to take a crack at "Forever", and, in the process of trying to create something new, add some interesting polyrhthms and textures to the track. Check it out for yourself at the top of the post.

Walter Meego MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Tours: My Brightest Diamond

Download: My Brightest Diamond - "Inside A Boy"

Hamden, CT The Space - (October 27)
Northampton, MA Iron Horse Music Hall (28)
Portland, ME The Space (30)
Fall River, MA Narrows Center for the Arts (31)

Buffalo, NY Big Orbit's Soundlab (November 2)
Oberlin, OH Oberlin College (3)
Grand Rapids, MI The Ladies Literary Club (5)
Danville, IN Royal Theater (6)
Chicago, IL Schubas (7)
Madison, WI Orpheum Theatre - Stage Door (8)
St. Louis, MO Cicero's (11)
Denver, CO Larimer Lounge (13)
Paonia, CO Paradise Theater (14)
Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge (15)
Boise, ID Neurolux (16)
Kennewick, WA The Red Room (17)
Seattle, WA Triple Door (19)
Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge (20)
Eugene, OR WOW Hall (21)
San Francisco, CA Swedish American Hall (22)
Santa Cruz, CA Rio Theatre (24)
San Diego, CA Casbah (25)
Los Angeles, CA Hotel Café (26)
Flagstaff, AZ TBA (29)
Albuquerque, NM The Cooperage (30)

Dallas, TX Granada Theater (December 3)
Little Rock, AR TBA (4)
Memphis, TN TBA (5)
Birmingham, AL TBA (6)
Atlanta, GA TBA (7)
Asheville, NC Orange Peel (9)
Charlottesville, VA Gravity Lounge (10)
Washington, DC Rock and Roll Hotel (11)
Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church (12)
New York, NY Le Poisson Rouge (13)

(My Brightest Diamond - "From Top Of The World")

My Brightest Diamond MySpace Page

Video: Kanye West's "Alligator Boots" (Yes, the Puppet Show)


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Star - "Turning It On"

Download: Star - "Turning It On"

Star are a dreampop trio based in Chicago. Last year, the released a debut album titled Devastator, and it contained several solid examples of reverb-heavy, fuzzed-out guitars with a lush, but conversational female vocal on top. While the guitar and the vocals suggest romanticism at its highest, the lyrics often came with a good dose of Liz Phair-style lacerating wit. Songs like "Pure Gold Reason" and "Jailor" railed scathingly against pretentious hipsters and arrogant exes, but it all went down smoothly due to the ethereal production. "Turning It On", from the band's upcoming sophomore effort, Violence Against Star, is as straightforward of a romantic pop ballad as they can deliver. The angst might be gone, but the fuzz remains. So who are we to complain? (Note: I am Don King.)

Listen to "Turning It On" at the top of the post. Hear another new song at the band's MySpace Page.

(Jonathan Graef)

Star MySpace Page

New Gemstones - "Unappreciated" (feat. Chu Chu)

Download: Gemstones - "Unappreciated" (feat. Chu Chu)

Chicago rapper Gemstones has released a new song via his MySpace Page. It's called "Unappreciated", and it's a fairly commercial, but still listenable, upbeat track, with lyrics depicting strife in a relationship. LupEND leaked the track, and if you click on the link at the beginning of the sentence, you can find out how to vote for Gemstones on URB.com.

"Unappreciated" is taken from his upcoming 2009 release Troubles of the World.

(Jonathan Graef)

Video: Monotonix - Live @ The Pygmalion

Live at the Canopy Club in Urbana, IL. Behold the awesome!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Wilco w/Fleet Foxes - "I Shall Be Released" (Bob Dylan Cover)

Every election year is a chance for new voters to experience their own personal, political awakening, no matter what ideology they belong to. But ideals don't matter a single bit if they aren't put into action--and voting is the most simple way to do that very same thing. As a means to increase voter turnout, The AV Club has announced the details of an exclusive live collaboration between lush melodists Fleet Foxes and alt-country innovators Wilco that was recorded in Bend, OR. The song played is a cover of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released", which he originally wrote, but was played by The Band on their first album, Music From The Big Pink. Download the song here, for the cost of an email address and a pledge that you will vote in the November election.

As for the original version of the song, check out footage from Martin Scorsese's legendary concert film, The Last Waltz:

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on MFR

Kanye West and Rhymefest Ink Comedy Central Deal For Puppet Show

via the Hollywood Reporter:

Comedy Central has teamed with Kanye West for a project described as hip-hop meets the Muppets.

A half-hour pilot has been shot for the project, tentatively titled "Alligator Boots." It's from Jackhole Prods., the production company founded by Jimmy Kimmel, Daniel Kellison and Adam Carolla that also was behind Comedy Central's puppet-centric "Crank Yankers."

The project, which is under consideration for 2009, would feature music produced and performed by West and fellow rapper Rhymefest, both of whom are serving as executive producers on the pilot alongside Kellison.

If I told them once, I've told them a thousand times. Kanye West, then puppet show!

Seriously though, who wouldn't want a program where a Kermit stand-in drops some sick rhymes over a beat produced by Miss Piggy? How could that lose!?

(Jonathan Graef)

New Anni Rossi - "Wheelpusher"

Download: Anni Rossi - "Wheelpusher"

Like fellow Chicagoan/part-time Minnesotan Andrew Bird, Anni Rossi creates a rich tapestry of sound by melding together eclectic orchestrations and lush instrumentation. Rossi's aesthetic is more straight-forward--there are no Dosh-assisted style sonic collages that Bird happens to be fond of--but, using her viola and the surprise appearance of saxophones, Rossi is able to create an imaginative, impressionistic world for listeners to get lost in. But lest you think that Rossi and her Joanna Newsom-like warble make a detour into the self-indulgent, the minimalist production makes sure that both listener and artist stay grounded in reality.

Rossi is currently at work on her debut album, set for release next spring, recording it with Steve Albini at Chicago. But those enticed by the sounds on "Wheelpusher", the track at the top of the post, don't have to wait long for new material. The "mini-album" (different from an EP...how?) Afton, which features "Wheelpusher", will be out on October 21st. Rossi's last US date before her European tour is in Chicago opening up for Why?, but has soon as she has more US dates, we will let you know.

To get a further glimpse into Rossi's creativity, check out her cover of Radiohead's "Creep" (and be sure to download "Wheelpusher", of course):

Afton is out October 21st.

Anni Rossi MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

*The viola, Rossi's instruments, is often the butt of good-natured jokes in orchestras. Read some here.

Cross-published on MFR.

Video: Kidz In The Hall - "Love Hangover" (Feat. Estelle)

Love Hangover - Kidz in the Hall feat Estelle

h/t Nah Right/FSD.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Video: Robbie Fulks - "Thriller" (Including Zombie Dance Re-Enactment)


Video: Neko Case - "Hold On, Hold On" (Live at the Hideout Block Party 2008)

This video misses the first verse of Neko Case's classic "Hold On, Hold On" from 2006's still stellar Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, but you only have to hear most of it to still get chills down your spine. Her set Saturday night was one of many highlights from this year's Block Party, including the awesomely psychotic breaking-of-the-fourth-wall performance from Monotonix (i.e. three dudes looking like Borat and playing music that sounds like Vol. 4-era Black Sabbath as filtered through The Stooges); the never-ending Michael Jackson tribute on Sunday, which started with insurgent country artist Robbie Fulks doing some Jackson 5 hits, before the performance culminated with "Thriller" and the Hideout dance doing the zombie dance from the video for said song; Rhymefest performing tracks from his criminally overlooked online mixtape Man In The Mirror; The New Pornographers running through one power-pop great after another, with Case making a rare appearance with the group; and RATATAT, who make the block party into a giant dance party, all the while displaying an impressive array of head banging.

I'll post more videos as I find them, but in the meantime, check out Case at the top of the post.

(Jonathan Graef)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sybris Post New Tour Dates

Spotted at the Sybris MySpace Page:

Sept. w/Colour Revolt

25 The Marquee - Norman OK

26 Hailey's - Denton TX

27 Creative Incubator - McAllen TX

28 Austin City Limits Festival - TX

30 Birdy's - Indianapolis IN

Oct. w/A Decent Animal

1 Canopy Club - Urbana IL

2 Cactus Clb - Milwaukee WI

4 7th St. Entry - Minneapolis MN

7 Sunset Tavern - Seattle

11 Spaceland - Los Angeles CA

12 Rhythm Room - Phoenix AZ

13 Moonlight - Albuquerque NM

14 Larimer Lounge - Denver CO

15 Jackpot Saloon - Lawrence KS

(Sybris - "Oh Man")

Sybris MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on MFR.

New Kanye West - "Love Lockdown" (Young Son Remix)

Download: Kanye West - "Love Lockdown" (Young Son Remix)

Young Son is an emcee from the Twin Cities who, like many rappers in the Chicago area (like Rhymefest and Lupe Fiasco) peppers his rhymes with social commentary. Flow-wise, he skews closer to Lupe's Tribe Called Quest-isms, but lyrically, he deals with the day-to-day struggles, much like Rhymefest. Recently, he remixed Kanye West's new track "Love Lockdown", the heavily re-recorded first single from 'Ye's fourth album, supposedly titled 808s and Heartbreak. Listen to it at the top of the post.

Young Son MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Cross-published on MFR.

Video: Kidz in the Hall - Eighty81 Interview

Spotted at Fake Shore Drive.

Eddie Vedder Writes Cubs Tribute Song

Via Billboard:

Chicago radio stations and sports bars have begun spinning "All the Way," a Chicago Cubs-themed ditty written by Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder at the request of Cubs legend Ernie Banks.

The track, with lines like "Our heroes wear pinstripes / pinstripes in blue / give us a chance to feel like heroes too," was recorded last month during a Vedder solo show at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre.

The article then goes on to mention that the song will be available as a download on Pearl Jam's website in a few days, and that there also may be CDs and 45 singles sold as well.

Am I the only one who remembers that Vedder wore a White Sox cap--one that Jack McDowell had given him--during the taping of the unplugged that PJ did in '92?

But hey, go Cubbies!

(Jonathan Graef)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tours: Schools of Seven Bells (Opening Up For M83)

Download: School of Seven Bells - "Connjur"

Ethereal dream-poppers School of Seven Bells, the group consisting of former members of Secret Machines and On! Air! Library!, have a lot of live activity going on before their debut Alpinisms drops on October 28th. First of is their tour with fellow celestially-minded tunesmiths M83, who are still going strong behind their ambient 80s nostalgia trip Saturdays=Youth. That tour sees the groups coming to the Chi-Town on November 22nd. But before they come Mid-West, the Bells will hit up a triumvirate of dates in New York, where they will be playing the CMJ music conference, where they will be one of thousands trying to impress industry insiders. Based on the sounds of "Connjur", they should have no trouble.

Here are the dates:

09/27 Boston, MA - Urban Outfitters Newbury
10/17 Pontiac, MI - The Pike Room
10/18 Kalamazoo, MI - State Theater^
10/22 Brooklyn, NY - Cake Shop (CMJ)
10/24 New York, NY - Levi's Fader Fort NYC (CMJ)
10/25 New York, NY - Le Poisson Rouge (CMJ)
10/28 London, UK - Old Blue Last
10/29 London, UK - The Social
11/11 Atlanta, GA - The Earl +
11/12 Charlotte, NC- Tremont Music Hall +
11/13 Washington, DC - Black Cat +
11/14 New York, NY - Webster Hall +
11/15 Philadelphia, PA - Starlight Ballroom+
11/16 Northhampton, MA - Pearl Street +
11/18 Boston, MA - Middle East Downstairs +
11/19 Montreal, QC - Studio +
11/20 Toronto, ON - Opera House +
11/21 Chicago, IL - Bottom Lounge +
11/22 Minneapolis, MN- Triple Rock +
11/25 Seattle, WA - Neumo's +
11/26 Vancouver, BC - Richard's on Richards +
11/27 Portland, OR - Doug Fir +
11/28 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore +
11/29 Los Angeles, CA - Fonda Theater +

+ w/ M83
^ w/ Black Moth Super Rainbow, Mates of State

School of Seven Bells MySpace Page
(Jonathan Graef)

Tours: Jennifer O'Connor

Sep 17 Rochester, NY Water Music Hall w/ Hayden
Sep 19 Cafe Nine New Haven, Connecticut (headlining)
Sep 21 Vienna, VA Jammin Java w/ Hayden
Sep 25 Iron Horse Music Hall Northampton, Massachusetts w/ Great Lake Swimmers
Sep 26 New York, NY Mercury Lounge w/ Great Lake Swimmers
Sep 27 Brooklyn, NY Union Hall w/ Great Lake Swimmers
Oct 13 Philadelphia, PA M Room w/ Hotel Lights
Oct 14 Pittsburgh, PA Howler's w/ David Dondero & Boca Chica
Oct 15 Cleveland, OH Beachland Tavern
Oct 16 Pontiac, MI Pike Room w/ The New Year
Oct 17 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle w/ The New Year
Oct 19 Madison, WI Cafe Montmarte
Oct 21 Minneapolis, MN 7th Street Entry
Oct 23 Columbia, MO The Blue Fugue
Oct 24 St. Louis, MO Off Broadway
Nov 2 Buffalo, NY The Tralf Music Hall w/ Amy Ray
Nov 4 Toronto, ON The Mod Club Theatre w/ Amy Ray
Nov 5 Burlington, VT Higher Ground w/ Amy Ray
Nov 7 Somerville, MA Somerville Theatre w/ Amy Ray
Nov 15 Richmond, VA Capitol Alehouse w/ Amy Ray
Nov 19 Carrboro, NC Cat's Cradle w/ Amy Ray
Nov 22 Atlanta, GA Variety Playhouse w/ Amy Ray

Jennifer O'Connor MySpace Page

(Jennifer O' Connor - "Always on Your Mind")

Cross-published on MFR

Video: The Cool Kids - "Delivery Man"

Tonight: Flosstradamus @ The Abbey Pub

Monday, September 15, 2008

Aleks And The Drummer Written Up In Pitchfork

Download: Aleks and the Drummer - "I Want To Melt His Eyes" (via P4K)

From the Forkcast article written by Kasia Galazka:

leks Tomaszewska is shy with a slight accent curling her words. But come nightfall, she slips into her shiniest, most rainbowiest gear, adds a little Jackson Pollock facepaint under her eyelids, and chopsticks her Farfisa organ. With an unwavering siren's trill (if sirens existed in Douglas Adams novels), Tomaszewska debuts with her band Aleks and the Drummer. After fiddling with a few bands and her sister's grand piano, the self-trained Tomaszewska--or Tomasczhewvshschszski as she keyboard-mashes on the band's MySpace page, to the amusement of mispronunciation victims--started the band with drummer Deric Criss about two years ago. Where the headbanded Bat for Lashes' Natasha Khan dipped her tribal toe, the equally headbanded, sci-fi Tomaszewka charges with "I Want to Melt His Eyes." The song, a slapdash of frantic with hyper-romantic, is the first track off the band's Dave Sitek-produced EP May a Lightning Bolt Caress You.

May a Lightning Bolt Caress You is really one of the best local releases of the year. Buy it at any of the Reckless'.

Aleks and The Drummer MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Tours: Ohbijou

Sat. Oct. 4 – Kingston ON – Grad Club #
Mon. Oct. 6 – Sault Ste Marie ON – Loplop Gallery
Tue. Oct. 7 – Thunder Bay ON – Apollo #
Wed. Oct. 8 – Winnipeg MB – Lo Pub #
Thu. Oct. 9 – Saskatoon SK – Amigo's Cafe #
Fri. Oct. 10 – Calgary AB – Broken City #
Sat. Oct. 11 – Edmonton AB – The Pawn Shop #
Mon. Oct. 13 – Kelowna BC – The Habitat #
Tue. Oct. 14 – Vancouver BC – Media Club #
Wed. Oct.15 – Victoria BC – Lucky Bar #
Thu. Oct.16 – Portland OR – Doug Fir Lounge ++
Fri. Oct. 17 – Seattle WA – Tractor Tavern ++
Sun. Oct.19 – Bend OR – Saint Francis #
Tue. Oct. 21 – San Francisco CA – Hemlock Tavern ++
Wed. Oct. 22 – Santa Cruz CA – Crepe Place ++
Fri. Oct. 24 – Los Angeles CA – Spaceland ++
Sat. Oct. 25 – Phoenix AZ – Modified ++
Tue. Oct. 28 – Denver CO – Hi-Dive ++
Wed. Oct. 29 – Omaha NB – Slowdown ++
Thu. Oct. 30 – Minneapolis MN – 7th Street Entry ++
Fri. Oct. 31 – Madison WI – Cafe Montmartre ++
Sat. Nov.1 – Chicago IL – Schuba's ++
Thu. Nov. 20 – Hamilton ON – The Casbah #
Fri. Nov. 21 – Guelph ON – Dublin Street United Church #
Sat. Nov. 22 - Peterborough ON – Montreal House #
Thu. Nov. 27 – Toronto ON – Lee’s Palace #
Fri. Nov. 28 – Montréal QC – La Sala Rossa #
Sat. Nov. 29 – Ottawa ON – Barrymore's Music Hall #

# w/ The Acorn
++ w/ The Acorn & Shaky Hands Tour

(Ohbijou - "The Woods")

Russian Circles Announce Recording of New Album

(Russian Circles - "Death Rides A Horse")

From a Russian Circles MySpace Bulletin:

First off, we wanted to thank everyone for coming out to see us this summer. It was by far the most fun we've had on tour, EVER. We are also getting set for our massive European tour with our good friends/label mates These arms are snakes. We will have a limited edition split 12" with These arms arms are snakes for you lucky Europeans. We are also working on a few US dates this December/January! We'll keep you posted on those... And finally, we are happy to announce that we have started writing for our new record. We couldn't be more excited with the songs we've been writing. If all goes as planned we will be recording early next year

The record in question will be a follow-up to this year's Station.

(Russian Circles - "Carpe" - Live in Cleveland, OH)

Russian Circles MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Video: Vince P - "Why So Serious?"

Vince P MySpace Page

Kanye West Out Of Jail

Here's yesterday's footage of Yeezy's arrest due to tangling with paparazzi, an event you've now doubt heard about by now. However, it would now appear, based on a post on Kanye West's blog, that he is out of jail, in the studio, and normally "cool with the paparazzi". West then stated that the guy who took his picture wasn't cool, hence the explosion. Because paparazzi are normally so respectful and granting of space. Read the Twitter-style post here. (h/t Idolator)

In music related news, Nah Right posted a mastered version of Kanye West's single "Love Lockdown", from his upcoming fourth album 808s and Heartbreak. Listen to it here.

Download: Kanye West - "Love Lockdown" (via)

Kanye West MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Tours: The Bug UK

Spotted at P4K:

09-12 Glasgow, Scotland - Glasgow School of Art
09-19 Nelson, British Columbia - TBA
09-20 Vancouver, British Columbia - Open Studios
09-21 Edmonton, Alberta - The Pawn Shop
09-26 Los Angeles, CA - Pure Filth
09-27 San Francisco, CA - Club Six
09-28 Seattle, WA - Neumos (Decibel Festival)
09-30 Portland, OR - Rotture
10-01 Chicago IL - Subterranean *
10-02 Montreal, Quebec - Academy Club (Pop Montreal)
10-03 New York, NY - Love
10-04 Boston, MA - Great Scott
10-11 Manchester, England - Warehouse Project
11-01 Leeds, England - Warehouse Project
11-07 Graz, Austria - Elevate
11-28 Rapid City, SD - Rushmore Plaza Civic Center ^
11-29 Billings, MT - Metrapark Arena ^
12-01 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Credit Union Centre ^
12-04 Kelowna, British Columbia - Prospera Place ^
12-05 Victoria, British Columbia - Save on Foods Memorial Centre ^
12-07 Portland, OR - Rose Garden Arena ^
12-08 Nampa, ID - Idaho Center ^
12-09 Missoula, MT - Adams Center ^
12-12 Sacramento, CA - Arco Arena ^
12-13 Las Vegas, NV - Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino ^

The Bug UK MySpace Page

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tours: Fucked Up

Download: Fucked Up - "No Epiphany"
Download: Fucked Up - "Twice Born"

Saturday 11 Montreal, QB CA La Sala Rosa
Sunday 12 Allston, MA Great Scott w/Vivian Girls
Monday 13 Danbury, CT Heirloom Arts Theatre w/Vivian Girls
Wednesday 15 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom w/Vivian Girls
Thursday 16 Brooklyn, NY Market Hotel w/Vivian Girls
Friday 17 Baltimore, MD Sonar w/Vivian Girls
Saturday 18 Philadelphia, PA The Barbary w/Vivian Girls
Sunday 19 Washington, DC Rock And Roll Hotel w/Vivian Girls
Monday 20 Columbus, OH Skully's
Tuesday 21 St. Louis, MO The Bluebird
Wednesday 22 Iowa City, IA The Picador
Thursday 23 Chicago, IL Reggie's Rock Club
Friday 24 Pontiac, MI The Pike Room
Saturday 25 Buffalo, NY Mohawk Place

Fucked Up Matador Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Kanye West Announces New Album Title, Release Date

808s and a Heartbreak will be out on December 16th.

A Sybris By Any Other Name Would Still Be Sybris

Sybris on iLike - Get Sidebar

Pretty hilarious.

Culture Bully Interviews Alltruisms

Culture Bully has a feature called Influenza which allows artists to explain the inspirations behind some of their songs. For this edition, the Minneapolis based blog has interviewed Chicago rapper Alltruisms about what inspired him to write his track "Clusterbombs Laos/Me Mix”. Here's a sampling of what Alltruisms wrote:

I took a bus eight hours to a high plains town called Phonsavan. People go there to see an archaeological site called the Plain of Jars, which are fields with hundreds of giant stone jars, 1500-2000 years old, exact use unknown, possibly urns. The area also has a ton of unexploded ordinance (UXO’s), cluster bombs that the U.S. dropped in its “secret war” in Laos. We dropped the equivalent of one planeload of bombs on Laos every eight minutes for nine years, making Laos still the most-bombed country ever. Sometimes we targeted Viet Cong supply lines in Laos, sometimes bombing missions into Vietnam failed for whatever reason, and the pilots had to drop the bombs somewhere because it was too risky to land the planes with bombs on board. These cluster bombs, there were hundreds in each bombshell, and they’re supposed to drop out of the bombshell, spin in the air, and explode as they hit the ground. But about forty percent don’t explode, so they litter the fields, millions of them, and a kid will pick one up and get blown up, or a farmer will hit one while planting his land...

Read more here.

(Jonathan Graef)

New Marnie Stern - "Ruler"


Marnie Stern's upcoming album, This That and the other thing joey joe joe shabbadoo* is looking like a real album-of-the-year contender. First, Stern herself debuted a track called "Transformer", which perfectly split the difference between 1984 Van Halen and 1984 Husker Du. Then came the equally fantastic feast of polyrhythms known as "Shea Stadium". Now, there's "Ruler", a song that Stern herself leaked via the iLike application on the Facebook. Unsurprisingly, it is awesome. The song begins with tapping, then goes to standard pop-song verse-chorus-verse before it gets really interesting with a breakdown that really breaks down. Check it out above.

This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That** is out October 7th.

(Jonathan Graef)

*obviously not the real title
**the actual album title

Cross-published on MFR

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Video: Parsley Flakes on Chic-a-Go-Go

The electro-punk band perform on the Cable Access stalwart.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tonight: Reggie's 1st Anniversary Party

New Vince P - "Represent" Feat. Wild Beats

Stream: Vince P - "Represent" (feat. Wild Beats)

Chicago rapper Vince P. has posted a new, guitar-driven track called "Represent" over at his MySpace page. Unsurprisingly, the song is about partyin' with your homeboys, and its filled with the typical hip-hop braggadocio. Check out the cover of the single below.

(Jonathan Graef)

New Andrew Bird - "Master Swarm"

Spotted over at You Ain't No Picasso.

Video: Kanye West - "Love Lockdown" (Live at the VMAs)

Download: Kanye West - "Love Lockdown" (via)

Although there's been new Kanye West material from his forthcoming fourth album, which may see release as early as December, floating around the internet, the first official taste of record numero quatro came last night at the VMAs. Breaking with his boycott of the show, Yeezy closed the 25th edition of the show by performing "Love Lockdown", a song which also sees release to iTunes today.

As for the song itself, 'Ye is going for a darker, slower, less self-assured vibe here which stands out immediately compared to the likes of "Stronger". "I'm in love with you/but the vibe is wrong/and it hauntin' me/all the way home" goes one lyric, and it aptly sums up the vibe here. "Love Lockdown" is heavy on drums, vocoder, and piano, and all those touches add to the fact that this is Kanye's most R&B-flavored single. I don't think there's any rapping on it at all, and the vocal hook could have come straight from a Daft Punk song. All in all, "Love Lockdown" shows that West is expanding his horizons creatively, but as far as the actual song quality is concerned...

Kanye West MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

This post was cross-published on Minneapolis Fucking Rocks.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New Kanye West - "Heartless"

Spotted at Nah Right.

The new song Kanye West will be debuting tonight at the MTV Video Awards is called "Love Lockdown", and it is a track that's taken from a supposedly upcoming fourth album. No word on a title on that sure-to-be opus, but apparently Yeezy is going to spill the beans on matters such as these on MTV tonight.

But while listeners wait for the probably spectacle (there's some precedence to make that claim on, after all), they can listen to another new track called "Heartless". It starts at the 5:10 mark. It's low-quality, but it's new music all the same.

Grab an mp3 of the track.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tonight: Mittens on Strings @ The Hideout

Friday September 5th at 9:30
Mittens on Strings
Hotel Brotherhood

The Flaming Pig

(Mittens on Strings - "The Flaming Pig")

Saturday: Permanent Records 2nd Anniversary

Win Tickets To See Walter Meego Live

Taken directly from the Walter Meego MySpace Blog:

Enter by sending an e-mail to wmtixcontest@gmail.com with "Walter Meego Ticket Contest" in the subject line and both your name and a friends name (first and last) in the body to qualify for the contest. Also include the city and date you wish to attend in the body. Winners will be notified via e-mail.

Please keep in mind that this contest EXCLUDES the Chicago, New York, LA, Toronto Int'l Film Festival dates.

Boo-urns for no Chicago exception! Still, free is free.

To read my interview with Walter Meego, go here.

(Jonathan Graef)

Kanye West To Release New Album in December

Nah Right has reported that Kanye West, the Chicago rapper, will drop the follow-up to his third album, Graduation, as early as this December. Not only that, but the first single, "Love Lockdown", will be supposedly released to iTunes this Monday. This, of course, is if the report from MTV UK is to be believed. Between this announcement, the fact that Lupe Fiasco has been debuting new material (see below), and if El Che drops, the end of 2008 could be an unbelievably strong showing from Chicago hip-hop.

As soon as an MP3 of "Love Lockdown" becomes available, we'll post it.

(Jonathan Graef)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Reckless Records Announces New In-Store Performances

Download: Dutchess and the Duke - "Reservoir Park"

Dutchess and the Duke
free in-store performance
Wednesday September 10th
Reckless Records on Broadway

Stream: Various Colour Music Songs

Free in-store
Thursday September 11th
Reckless Records in Wicker Park

New Mikkey - "Boss" and "Yes Yes"

Chicago rapper Mikkey posted two new songs on his MySpace page, a track titled "Boss". On the short track, driven by a minimalist beat, keyboards, and lyrically depicting personal excess and pain, Mikkey sounds not unlike his fellow Chicago rapper Rhymefest. "Yes Yes", like many other rap songs, celebrates conspicuous consumption and the rapper's own desire to make the Joneses his bitch. The hook-heavy synth line is quite appealing though, and Mikkey's second verse manages to stand up against some of Kanye's better verses. Interestingly enough, both of the tracks contain references to Barack Obama.

Listen to "Boss" and "Yes Yes" over at the Mikkey MySpace Page.

(Jonathan Graef)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Live Review: Ponytail @ Subterranean

Download: Ponytail - "Celebrate The Body Electric (It Came From An Angel)"

If there ever were to be a remake of the classic 70s horror film The Exorcist, then those producers behind it better not make the mistake of casting Molly Siegel in the Linda Blair role. The reasoning behind this is simple: she would make demonic possession look fucking awesome. Indeed, as the seemingly diminutive singer rolls her eyes back in her, then juts up and down rhythmically to her band's brand of enthusiastically rambunctious, polyrhythmic spree of guitar squawk, the audience experiences a cognitive dissonance: how can this woman, who speaks like a kid sister in a Disney movie, make sounds and vocalizations that make Yoko Ono quiver?

A person watching Ponytail live with no sound (i.e. on YouTube) might think that Siegel is, based on her strained facial expressions, going through great anguish as she performs on stage. Nothing good be further from the truth. Beginning with the "Edge of Seventeen"-quoting "Sky Drool", and plowing through several other fantastic, spastic cuts from their new sophomore album Ice Cream Spiritual, Ponytail's level of joy and energy never let up, even when they decided to build up to a frantically focus crescendo of rock from a wave of calm soundscapes, as they did on new song "Music Tunes". Even though they have nothing in common musically (indeed, Ponytail's compositions are way too complex and dependent on guitar counterpoint lines), the most direct spiritual fore bearers have to be the Ramones (and not because their guitar player has a Johnny Ramone-esque mop top). Like the New York-based quartet, Ponytail's music and live show are of a very direct, but very contagious, sense of happiness and simple energy, channeled through songs that challenge the listener at every turn, and then reward them for doing so by having cathartic bursts of sound and sung. The only discernible words I could make out during the whole show were "Oh, no, I'm late for school" (work, these days) and "Away we go". But it wouldn't be much of a exaggeration to say that the audience identified with every bit of noise coming out of the voice and the amps. The show as a whole was like a session of hippy-bullshit-free session primal scream therapy for those of us just wanting to come out of the Bush years unscathed. "Your enthusiasm gives us positive energy" said guitarist Dustin Wong. After watching their set on Sub-T on Saturday, the only logical reply is "Vice Versa, Man". Vice Versa.

(Jonathan Graef)

Rhymefest - "No Sunshine" (Live at African Fest)

Spotted at Fake Shore. Apparently, a re-tooled version of this song is going to be the first single from El Che. This makes me even more excited for Rhymefest's appearance at the Hideout Block Party. Should be awesome.

Watch more here.

Rhymefest MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Video: The Streets - "Everything Is Borrowed"

Lupe Fiasco Debuts New Songs From Upcoming Album

Fake Shore has posted an earlier video of Lupe Fiasco performing new material from his upcoming third, and supposedly final, album LupEnd. Early this morning, the LupEnd blog uploaded a better quality video of the new tracks, from the same show at Indiana University.

Watch it at the top of the post.

Lupe Fiasco MySpace Page

(Jonathan Graef)

Show Announcement: The Dials, Team Band

September 9th
Pigeon Detectives
The Dials
Team Band (goes on first at 9 p.m.)
Cost : $15
Abbey Pub

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tonight: Sandwich Shop @ The Empty Bottle

Download: Let's Get Out Of This Terrible Sandwich Shop - "Henry and The Horse"

Monday, September 1st @ 9:30PM
The Empty Bottle
1035 N. Western
With Hidden Mitten and Sam Vicari

Empty Bottle Website

(The Hidden Mitten - "The Love I'm Searching For")

(Jonathan Graef)