Upcoming Show: Cymbals Eat Guitars/Bear In Heaven

I must remind everyone out there about what could be one of the best shows of the year. Cymbals Eat Guitars and Bear In Heaven will be at The Replay in Lawrence this Friday night. This will be an odd one because, in my opinion, this show would probably sell out The Jackpot. The Replay doesn't do advance tickets as far as I know, so it will be interesting to see how many people try to cram inside once the bands start playing. Both bands made my list of best albums of 2009, with Cymbals Eat Guitars debut album, Why Are There Mountains coming in at number 38 and Bear In Heaven's second full-length, Beast Rest Forth Mouth coming in at number 14. Freelance Whales and locals Bandit Teeth are also on the bill....don't miss this one!

Here's Cymbals Eat Guitars doing the track 'Wind Phoenix' at KEXP:

Here is the track 'You Do You' from Bear In Heaven:



Favorite Songs of the 2000's:
Guillemots - 'Trains To Brazil' (2006)

Guillemots are a relatively unknown band in the States, but have garnered quite a bit of attention in the UK. With members from England, Brazil, Canada and Scotland, the eclectic-ness of it's members come through in the music the band makes. Although I didn't dig their last album too much, the bands full-length debut Through The Windowpane, is full of really brilliant songs. Songs like 'Annie, Let's Not Wait' and 'Made Up Lovesong #43' are well-crafted, catchy and smart pop tunes, while tracks like 'If The World Ends' and 'Blue Would Still Be Blue' are fantastic and heartbreaking love songs.

The best track on the album, is the pop gem 'Trains To Brazil'. It starts out with a great drum beat and once the piano and horns flesh the sound out it gives singer Fyfe Dangerfield a chance to really shine. He's got a fantastic pop voice and should be noted that he's also a classically trained pianist. It's a shame that Guillemots' debut album didn't catch on much here in the US, because this is really the stuff that would be on the radio here if given the exposure.

Here's the video for 'Trains To Brazil':



Coming Out of the Shell

Again, I have been slacking on my promise to myself of contributing more to this blog, but at least my reason is sound: I have to put dowm my drink if I want to type with both hands.

But now that I'm taking a break, a couple of items have come to mind:

1. On Monday the 22nd I checked out Quasi at the Record Bar, and it was a great show. The opening act was a local group and I can't remember the name, but I'll repost when I look at the flyer I took down (my scrapbook habit for shows I go to). They were sort of soft, alt0country pop vibe, with piano and guitars, and put on a solid show, although when they were cheered to do an encore they picked what seemed to be the most forgettable song of their set, so that was a downer. Quasi put on a strong, informal show ("intimate" doesn't seem right, since the venue was too large for the 30 of us there to make it feel cozy), focusing primarily on songs from American Gong, and for their encore, they showed how it's done with their version of "Pictures of Lily", and I think a Pavement tune, but I can't be sure, as they didn't say and I didn't recognize it immediately. I also had a chance to shake hands with the group (I showed them my JoC press credentials), buy a very comfy tee, and head home. I give The Record Bar props for seemingly staying on schedule, although I still don't see how starting at 9pm could hurt anyone.

2. As the weather is warming up and the sky is brightening, so are our hearts and moods. Joyousn news like an upcoming New Pornographers record and tour, and movies like Predators, Tron 2.0 and Clash of the Titans (please, please don't suck) make me giddy and child-like, and my music choices of course reflect this. I am busting out my traditional warm weather groups, which includes a heavy does of The Pornographers and Imperial Teen. So I ask:

What traditional bands do you put on in the spring time?



Concert Announcements: Blitzen Trapper, Levon Helm & Future Islands

A few more noteworthy announcements for Kansas City. JoC favorites Blitzen Trapper will be at the Record Bar on June 22nd. They'll be touring in support of their new album, Destroyer of the Void, which is released on June 8th.

Levon Helm, who is most famous for being the drummer for one of the greatest music acts of all time, The Band, will be at The Crossroads in KC on July 5th.

Finally, a new favorite band of mine will also be making their way to KC. Future Islands are a Baltimore based band that came out of the Wham City collective with Dan Deacon. Their new album, In Evening Air (out May 4th), is already one of my favorite albums of the year. I try not to write about stuff until it's officially released, so look for a post on that album in a couple of months. Future Islands will be at the Pistol Club in the west bottoms of KC on June 2nd.

Here's one of the tracks off In Evening Air...the track is called 'Tin Man' and sounds sort of like Tom Waits fronting a synth-pop band. Brilliant.



Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - 'Round and Round'

I can't get this song out of my head but in such a good way. I'm not too familiar with Ariel Pink's previous output. I know he's a California songwriter known for home taping most of his recorded material. It really shows when you listen to a track like this. The song is called 'Round and Round' and is just out currently as a single on 4AD records. They have a full length they are probably finishing up right now as it's listed as a Spring 2010 release.

There is this crazy 70's disco vibe throughout the whole track that I absolutely love and it builds towards a pretty fantastic ending. I've heard mixed things about Ariel Pink previously, but this track really makes him and his band's upcoming album rank high on my most anticipated albums of the rest of the year. 'Round and Round' is already in contention for being the song of the spring/summer of 2010 for me...if I haven't burnt myself out on it by summer.

Check it out below or download it HERE (if you're willing to provide an email address):


Concert Announcement: The New Pornographers/The Dodos

I couldn't wait on posting this one. Power-pop supergroup The New Pornographers will be in Lawrence at Liberty Hall on July 26th. Their 5th album, Together, comes out on May 4th. The band's website says that all eight members will be on the tour, which would mean just like their last show at Liberty Hall, both Dan Bejar and Neko Case will take part.

Not only is that great news, but another favorite of mine The Dodos will be opening for them on the Lawrence date.

Here's a video for 'The Laws Have Changed' off their second album, Electric Version:



Concert Announcements: Pearl Jam/Band Of Horses,
The Black Keys, The Psychedelic Furs, Edward Sharpe
& the Magnetic Zeros & more

It's been a while since I've posted one of these, so most people have probably read about them elsewhere. Just in case, here are a bunch of concerts coming through town that are worth checking out.

Pearl Jam and Band Of Horses will be at the Sprint Center on May 3rd. PJ is a band I grew up loving and they put on one of the best live shows I've seen so I'm pretty excited about this. Add Band Of Horses as the opener and I'm sold.

The Black Keys will be at The Crossroads in midtown on Friday, June 4th.

Pollstar is reporting that The Psychedelic Furs will be at the Midland on June 14th. I've seen them once before but if you know me, you know how geeked out I get for certain 80's bands, and the Furs are certainly one of those bands. Not even the fact that She Wants Revenge is opening the show could ruin my excitement.

Here's a handful of other shows coming up:

04/17 Todd Rundgren @ The Beaumont Club, KC
04/18 Lupe Fiasco @ The Midland, KC
04/20 Serena Ryder @ The Record Bar, KC
05/03 Fucked Up @ The Jackpot, Lawrence
05/09 Murs @ The Jackpot, Lawrence
06/06 Caribou/Toro Y Moi @ The Granada, Lawrence
06/10 Josiah Wolf (of Why?) @ The Jackpot, Lawrence
06/16 Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros/Dawes @ The Beaumont Club, KC
06/26 Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears @ The Bottleneck, Lawrence (rescheduled date)
07/13 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers/Drive-By Truckers @ The Sprint Center, KC

Check out the FULL LIST of concert dates for the area.



R.I.P. Alex Chilton

Alex Chilton of power pop legends Big Star and also singer for The Box Tops has passed away at 59 years old. I've loved Big Star for a long time and if you have never heard of them I suggest checking them out. You've most likely at least heard one song of theirs if you have ever seen the opening credits to That 70's Show. Sad news indeed, RIP Alex.

Big Star - 'September Gurls'

Big Star - 'The Ballad of El Goodo'

Big Star - 'Thirteen'

The Box Tops - 'The Letter'

The Replacements - 'Alex Chilton' (the video is just Paul Westerberg live)



Tournament time! Jock Jams, anyone?

Now only a week away from the start of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, our attention at TJoC is a little split- as alums of The University of Kansas, this is by far Matt's and myself's favorite sports time of the year. Music is a big passion, but this ranks juuuuust about as high.

I do want to stay on the theme of music, of course, and this is what I thought of during lunch: Sports venues traditionally have horrible music: "Start Me Up", "Black Betty", "Under Pressure", "Welcome to the Jungle", whatever bland Top 40 hip-hop is #1 that summer. If you go to baseball games in the midwest, you even get to hear country- and not the cool kind (Hi, Rascal Flats!). It's not even really about the quality of the songs, as much as it's the same songs every year- kind of like alternative radio stations (In fact I turned 96.5 this morning and was able to hear Stone Temple Pilots "Interstate Love Song" again. I thnk 96.5 stands for "Music from May, 1996"). At a certain point, how pumped up can you get when you hear the same song at the same point in a contest? Predictablility is hardly a blood-pumper.

If you're a sports enthusiast, do you have any songs you would love to see used in said setting that maybe haven't been used? Of course, part of playing songs is playing them at the right instance- to wake fans up, drive them into a frenzy, create a party atmosphere (like anytime anyone plays a song, I suppose). Is there a song that you heard at a game that you want banned, or one you still enjoy no matter how many times you can see it coming a quarter/half/period/inning away?

What jumps into my head are two electronic tunes: "Battleflag" by Lo Fidelity All Stars for an opening introduction,

and "Setting Sun" by The Chemical Brothers for a timeout.

Chemical Brothers - Setting Sun
Uploaded by johann1984. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

The songs themselves have been around for awhile, but I don't think I've ever heard them at a game.

I would love to ban "Start Me Up". I get the theme of it, but it really only works on the first verse, and it's not a great sing-a-long stadium tune; I always enjoy "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC. The whole song is about kicking your ass, and has a great sense of build to get the crowd fired up.


Videos: Yeasayer, She & Him and Broken Bells

I'm not sure what's going on in Yeasayer's new video for the track 'One', but it's pretty awesome. Plus, this song is one of the better dance jams of 2010 and for some strange reason, I want to go to this party. Enjoy:

Here's the video for the first single from the new She & Him album, Volume 2 (out March 23rd). The song, 'In The Sun', is great and sounds like it would fit nicely with the material from the first record, but the highlight of course is the almost annoyingly adorable Zooey Deschanel.

Finally, the last video is from an album I'm not crazy about, but this song is great. Broken Bells is a project from James Mercer (The Shins) and Dangermouse (a ton of great shit). Although the album doesn't hold up all the way through, it starts of with this fantastic track 'The High Road':


New Music: B. Dolan - Fallen House, Sunken City

Being someone that use to be heavily into hip hop back in the late 90's up through a few years ago, it's exciting to hear something that makes me want to get back into it. Strange Famous' B. Dolan has done just that with his masterful new album Fallen House, Sunken City.

Everyone nowadays wants to hate on indie rap, and it's really too bad because it's really the most interesting sub-genre of rap lyrically. There is a politically charged theme throughout much of this album which could certainly stem from Dolan's work with Knowmore.org. That paired with the hypnotic and banging production from Alias makes this one of the best hip-hop albums I've heard in years.

There's some fabulous stuff here...beats from songs like 'The Reptilian Agenda' and 'Border Crossing' are just absolutely ridiculous. The addition of the What Cheer? Brigade (Providence RI street marching band) really puts the latter track towards the top of the list as far as best songs on the record go.

As good as the beats Alias provides are, the lyrics B. Dolan spits over them make this record what it is, powerful and raw. Especially the track 'Marvin' which is about Marvin Gaye and his death at the hands of his father. The beat is driven by a haunting piano line which is peppered with a short vocal sample that certainly sounds like it could be the man himself. The track will give you chills.

With a few exceptions, the last few years have been pretty boring in my opinion as far as hip-hop music goes. B. Dolan is looking to change all that with Fallen House, Sunken City and I'm pretty sure he hit it out of the park.

Check out the video for the first single, 'Earthmovers' below. A little bonus piece of trivia is the video was actually filmed in Kansas City:

B. Dolan Myspace
Buy the Album



New Music: Liars, The Besnard Lakes, Pavement & More

There are a crap-ton of great new albums that just came out today...we're talking double digit number of releases that may be worth your time (and at least a few I KNOW are worth your time). Here are the ones that I can definitely recommend.

The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night

The Canadian band responsible for my second favorite album of 2007 are back with their sophomore effort. Not to minimize what this band does (they do it extremely well) but if you liked the first record, there is a good chance you'll like this one too. The wall-of-sound rock meets boy-girl indie pop is something that The Besnard Lakes now have down to a science. The highlight of the album is also one of the best songs so far of 2010 in 'Albatross'.

Liars - Sisterworld

I already posted the fantastic video for the first single off Liars new album Sisterworld a few weeks ago. The Brooklyn bands album leaked a long time ago but gets an official release today. As much press as Liars have seem to have gotten for their past couple of albums, I never actually checked them out until Sisterworld. It's got a very industrial feel to much of it and the tone of the album is pretty dark throughout. If you like your rock and roll strange, I suggest you check out the new Liars album. If you're like me, you'll soon be tracking down their back catalog.

Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks

You don't need to read that Frightened Rabbit are from Scotland if you've ever heard any of their songs. If you can get past singer Scott Hutchison's thick Scottish accent, you're in for a real treat. Frightened Rabbit could best be described as indie folk but definitely leaning towards the pop side of the spectrum. The music here is fantastic and the lyrics are top notch as well. I've mentioned before how lyrics rarely stand out to me, so that's a high compliment coming from me

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - The Brutalist Bricks

Many, many shitty pop punks bands have been killing whatever commercial appeal is left in the genre of punk rock. Fortunately there is still Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, who have not only managed to become the torch bearer for what is still good about mainstream punk but managed to do it without losing a bit of integrity. I can't say enough good things about Ted Leo, and this new album just solidifies the fact that he and his band can't seem to do any wrong.

Pavement - Quarantine The Past

I'm not usually a big fan of Greatest Hits albums, but c'mon, it's Pavement. They've certainly got the back catalog to support such an album and it's no surprise that every track on this comp is a gem. There is a bad side to this album, for me at least. I've been so damn excited about scoring tickets to the Pavement show in KC and spinning this album over and over and then realizing that the concert is still six months away. Boo.

Another notable release from today is the new album Echo from The Morning Benders. That one is so good though that it will get it's own post tomorrow or Thursday. Here's a few other albums that are worth checking out that all came out today as well:

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Beat The Devil's Tattoo
jj - jj n3
Titus Andronicus - The Monitor
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach



Upcoming Show: SXSW Showcase @ Czar Bar

I thought I'd drop a quick note here to let you know of a good show coming up early next week. On Tuesday March 16th, there will be a four band showcase at Czar Bar in support of their trips to Austin for SXSW. One of the bands playing is Strand Of Oaks, who made my top albums of the 2009 list at number seven.

Also playing the showcase is Chicago band Chaperone. I checked out their Myspace page after hearing about this show and immediately knew I was going to like them. Seriously, if you like the music you read about here, go check out a few of their songs, I think you'll dig them. The band's Myspace page will be able to describe their sound better than I can:

"A melding of several different eras of music, the Chicago band’s sound is a jangly 21st-century version of yesteryear’s radio rock. Sing-along harmonies and raucous percussion laced over driving bass lines give the group its expansive sound."

Also on the bill are Omaha natives Little Brazil and Milwaukee's Juniper Tar.

This is a great chance to see four quality up and coming bands on their way to SXSW, so come out and give them some support and hear some great music.



Concert Announcement: Pavement

Best. Concert. Announcement. Day. Ever.

The newly re-united Pavement will grace KC with their presence on September 11th at the Uptown Theater. No word on ticket sale dates or prices yet but this one will surely sell out quickly.



Concert Announcement: Mumford & Sons

I'm not trying to put the fine readers of this blog on Mumford & Sons overload, but this announcement will probably excite a few people, so it must be posted.

Mumford & Sons announced a full US tour and KC made the cut. They'll be closing out the current announced dates in KC at The Record Bar on June 16th. No word on ticket prices or sale dates but I'll keep you posted.

Mumford & Sons Myspace