Concert Announcements: Real Estate, The Cave Singers,
Ani Difranco & More

The concert calendar for the Spring is filling up quite nicely. None of these shows got me quite excited enough to warrant it's own post, but they'll all be worth checking out.

Also, there appears to be some confusion on the Midlake show I posted about last week. Pollstar and Eleven Productions have the date listed as I posted below for March 12th. Ticketmaster has the date listed as April 14th while Midlake's own website has both dates listed. I'm going to guess it's still March 12th but I'll update this if anything changes.

Meanwhile, here are the rest of the new show dates (note The Cave Singers...another fantastic band appearing at the quite intimate Replay Lounge) and view the full concert calendar HERE.

01/09 Old Canes @ The Record Bar, KC
01/25 Alberta Cross @ The Bottleneck, Lawrence
02/11 Langhorne Slim @ The Record Bar, KC
02/17 RJD2 @ The Record Bar, KC
02/18 Eyedea & Abilities/Dosh @ The Jackpot, Lawrence
02/20 Nick Oliveri (formerly of Queens of the Stone Age) @ Czar Bar, KC
03/07 We Were Promised Jetpacks @ The Jackpot, Lawrence
03/07 Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears @ The Bottleneck, Lawrence
03/16 Woods/Real Estate @ The Jackpot, Lawrence
03/22 Quasi @ The Record Bar, KC
03/30 Electric Six @ The Bottleneck, Lawrence
03/31 Puscifer @ The Uptown, KC
03/31 The Cave Singers @ The Replay, Lawrence
04/03 The Ruby Suns/Toro Y Moi @ The Jackpot, Lawrence
04/08 Miike Snow/Delorean @ The Record Bar, KC
04/10 The Big Pink/A Place To Bury Strangers @ The Bottleneck, Lawrence
04/16 Ani Difranco @ The Beaumont Club, KC



Next Big Thing: Local Natives

I know it's kind of lazy to compare new bands to every other band out there, but it works for me. If someone tells me about a new band, my response is always "who do they sound like?". Really it just gives me a way to know if I would even be interested in the first place....if someone tells me "oh, they sound like The Killers meets Owl City", I know instantly that I'm going to hate that band and don't need to waste me time.

That being said it's hard to talk about LA band Local Natives without naming a ton of bands that they sound like. When I listen to their full-length debut, Gorilla Manor (currently out in the UK, US release slated for 2/16/10), I hear bits and pieces of Cold War Kids, Vampire Weekend, Fleet Foxes and even Yeasayer. That certainly doesn't mean that Local Natives are unoriginal, in fact, it's the exact opposite. Throughout the album I hear shades of the above mentioned bands but never feel like Local Natives are riding coattails or biting someones sound.

To be honest, I can't get enough of the album. It's full of pop gems but there is some much lush instrumentation behind it that it doesn't get boring. If this band doesn't absolutely blow up in 2010 I will be extremely surprised. Especially when marginal bands like Vampire Weekend are all the rage now. Mark my words: 2010 will be the year of Local Natives.

Local Natives Myspace



Concert Announcement: Midlake

JoC favorites Midlake will be making their way back through Lawrence and, just like for the tour for Van Occupanther, they'll be ending their trek in Lawrence (they do play a last show in their hometown of Denton, TX). They will be at the Jackpot in Lawrence on Friday, March 12th. They'll be touring in support of their third full-length album, The Courage Of Others, which will be released on February 2nd. You can head over to The Hype Machine to preview a couple of the tracks from the new album.

The last time they played Lawrence was at the Jackpot and it was about as packed as I've seen the place so you may want to get tickets early for this one.



Concert Announcement: Cymbals Eat Guitars/Bear In Heaven

Cymbals Eat Guitars:
Bear In Heaven:
Great timing on this concert announcement as the #38 and #14 bands on my 50 Best Albums of 2009 list are coming to Lawrence this spring. Cymbals Eat Guitars are taking Bear In Heaven out on tour as openers and they'll be playing at The Replay Lounge in Lawrence on Friday, April 2nd.

If you ask me the Replay Lounge is quite small for these two bands who are both garnering quite a bit of buzz on the blog scene. I'm guessing this will be moved to the Jackpot when it's all said an done.

Cymbals Eat Guitars Myspace
Bear In Heaven Myspace



2009 Albums of the Year

I'm not going to re-cap the year in music that was 2009 other than to say it was a bit of a disappointing year in my opinion. Not as many albums I think I'll be listening to in 10 years as there have been in the last two or three years. On the bright side, with the list of great bands that are putting out new records in 2010 growing and growing, things might be looking up pretty quickly.

Without further ado, here's my list:

50. AC Newman - Get Guilty
49. The Appleseed Cast – Sagarmatha
48. The Horrors – Primary Colours
47. Cold Cave – Love Comes Close
46. The Low Anthem – Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
45. jj – jj n°2
44. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
43. Mew – No More Stories Are Told Today, I’m Sorry, They Washed Away
42. Bat For Lashes – Two Suns
41. Dirty Projectors – Bite Orca
40. Julian Casablancas – Phrazes of the Young
39. The Flaming Lips – Embryonic
38. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why There Are Mountains
37. Elvis Perkins - Elvis Perkins in Dearland
36. The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You
35. Old Canes – Feral Harmonic
34. Fever Ray – Fever Ray
33. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
32. Akron/Family – Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free
31. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – s/t
30. Cass McCombs – Catacombs
29. Kurt Vile – Childish Prodigy
28. Passion Pit – Manners
27. Deer Tick – Born On Flag Day
26. Iran – Dissolver

25. A.A. Bondy – When the Devil’s Loose

Singer-songwriter stuff like this with a country tinge to it is right up my alley. This isn't the first A.A. Bondy album I've enjoyed, but it's certainly the most focused.

24. Dead Man's Bones - Dead Man's Bones

Whenever an Actor feels the need to start making music, I usually run away. This album is kinda haunting, a bit joyous and overall a really good record.

23. St. Vincent – Actor

As much as I loved Annie Clark's last album, Marry Me, she topped it with Actor. There are a lot of layers here that definitely rewards repeat listens.

22. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

A great debut album that shows a band with a ton of promise and the ability to write a great pop tune.

21. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Up From Below

If this album didn't have a few songs I just didn't dig, it would have been much higher on my list. Edward Sharpe and his band are responsible for what may be one of the best songs of the year, 'Home'.

20. Junior Boys – Begone Dull Care

I've been a big Junior Boys fan ever since I heard their first album, Last Exit. They haven't done me wrong yet as they've released another brilliant dance album.

19. Mastodon – Crack the Skye

The first of two metal albums in my top 20, Mastodon has continued their streak of nearly flawless albums with Crack the Skye.

18. Atlas Sound - Logos

I wasn't too sure why people were so crazy about Bradford Cox. I fully realize now, after spinning Logos, the genius of this guy.

17. Handsome Furs - Face Control

In my eyes, Dan Boeckner has always taken a back seat to Spencer Krug in terms of songwriting. However, with Face Control, Boeckner's blend of electro-punk hits the mark.

16. Pink Mountaintops - Outside Love

Stephen McBean continues the streak of fantastic albums by the Black Mountain camp.

15. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm

As Dinosaur Jr. continues to release amazing new albums 20+ years into their career, it begs the question: why do people still give a fuck about the Pixies?

14. Bear In Heaven - Beast Rest Forth Mouth

The latest addition to my top 20 is another Brooklyn band that is beginning to garner a bit of well deserved buzz. The album has been in an almost daily rotation for me for weeks.

13. Girls - Album

One of the strongest debut albums of the year was from San Francisco band Girls. Both 'Lust For Life' and 'Hellhole Ratrace' are candidates for song of the year.

12. Lighting Dust - Infinite Light

Another group comprised mostly with members of Black Mountain. This time McBean is out done by his band members as Infinite Light may be the best BM side project ever.

11. White Denim - Fits

Austin's White Denim is another potentially over-hyped band that I thought I might hate before I heard them. Their album Fits is a scatterbrained rock album that's all over the map but is a really fun listen.

10. Megafaun - Gather, Form & Fly

This is the kind of thing that I really do love: a weird mix of freak-folk, country and psychedelic rock. Seeing these guys open for Bon Iver earlier this year was definitely one of my concert highlights of 2009.

9. Wild Beasts - Two Dancers

This is another album that I heard late in the year and just continued to move up and up my list of favorite albums all year. Another best song of the year nominee in 'All the Kings Men'.

8. Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career

On their debut album, Camera Obscura released one of my favorite songs of the year ('Hey Lloyd, I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken'). This time, they release a truly great whole album with My Maudlin Career.

7. Strand Of Oaks - Leave Ruin

There always ends up being one mellow, acoustic album pretty high up on my list, and this year it's Strand Of Oaks' Leave Ruin. I gotta admit though, this album got as many listens as the rest of the top 10 and it deserves it's spot.

*No Strand Of Oaks songs are available on Lala.com....head over to their Myspace page to check out their stuff.

6. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

This album held my top spot for much of the year, but unfortunately I got a bit burnt out with it by the end of the year. I still think it's a fantastic album and it's definitely deserved of most of the hype.

*I couldn't find anything off this album on Lala.com, so here's their track from the New Moon soundtrack.

5. Animal Collective - Merriwheather Post Pavilion

The last on my list of albums that were almost painfully hyped. Yet, like Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective's most recent effort truly is great. Some of the catchiest stuff they've ever released and what may be their best album ever.

4. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

This is what a perfect pop album sounds like. It's slick, catchy and full of sheen and shine. Not only that but it's got true emotional and lyrical depth.

3. Baroness - Blue Record

If there is a candidate for an album that I over-rank because it's fresh in my mind (and ipod) at the end of the year, this might be it. I haven't heard a metal album this rich and rewarding in a really long time.

2. Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer

This was in my number one spot for almost the whole year, and it's still so close my number one's and two's could switch in a few weeks. This is Spencer Krug's masterpiece he has been hinting at with Sunset Rubdown for years.

1. The Antlers - Hospice

Albums don't get much more emotionally stimulating or draining than with Hospice. An album that begs to be listened to from start to finish each time, this album is one that will give you something new you didn't notice each spin. There isn't a single song that will blow you away, but in context of the entire album, they are all brilliant.

Alright, what did I miss? What did I rank too low? What is the list missing that was good? What did I rank too high that was shit? Let me know in the comments.



Show Review: Baroness/Earthless @ The Riot Room

It's been a while since I've actually written up anything about a show I went to. Usually I forget to take my camera, I drink quite a bit and don't take any kind of notes. Those three combined leaves me with the feeling that I don't have the right to post any sort of "review" of a show. In reality, I'm not really reviewing the performance so much, but more writing about two of the more intense live bands I've seen in a while.

I went to this show to see Baroness. I've written something up recently on their most recent album that you can read HERE. Whenever I'm going to a show, I always try and check up on the opening bands in hopes that I'll see something that I might enjoy. The band that opened the show, Earthless, might have been the worst choice for an opening band ever. They aren't a bad choice because they aren't good, because they are one of the best live bands I've ever seen. They are a bad choice for an opening band because I don't know how anyone could follow them without coming off as limp or boring. Earthless are a three piece that plays a sort of stoner rock jam and metal hybrid. They played what seemed like one long song for their whole 40 minute set, but things never got boring. It was like watching three insanely talented musicians just jam and solo for 40 minutes straight. Their drummer was absolutely insane and I was exhausted from just watching him play. Like I said, Earthless put on one of the best live performances I've ever seen, DO NOT MISS them if you have the chance to see them play.

The headliner, Baroness, is a four piece metal band from Savannah, Georgia. They have two near perfect metal albums already under their belt with the release of their second full-length, Blue Album this year. They also might be one of the only bands that could actually follow an Earthless performance. They played an hour of music with songs ranging from both full length albums and their previous EP's as well. They are a really tight live band and are able to pull off almost all of the sounds and feel they've put to record. Discovering Baroness and digging into their back catalog is responsible for me diving head first back into metal music over the past month or so. I still haven't discovered anything nearly as good as the Baroness albums, but it's been fun trying to find one.

Baroness Myspace
Earthless Myspace