Show Review: Peter Bjorn and John/The Besnard Lakes

11/26/07 Madrid Theatre, Kansas City

If Canada's The Besnard Lakes hadn't been announced as the opening band for Peter Bjorn and John's show in Kansas City, I probably wouldn't have gone. I really do enjoy their latest album, Writer's Block (technically it came out in 2006, although it didn't get released stateside until this year). It's full of really catchy, infectious pop tunes that are frequently laced with keyboards and other instruments that really fill out their sound. Unfortunately the Swedish trio is unable to recreate that sound with only the three of them. Although they were extremely energetic once they got moving the songs just sounded boring and kind of limp compared to their albums. In fact, it's one of the few concerts where I've considered leaving early, although we did stay until the end.

The night wasn't a complete wash though because I got a chance to see The Besnard Lakes again. Their latest record, The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse, is one of my favorites of the year. They have a spacey psychedelic thing going on with harmonies that could rival The Beach Boys. Complete with a smoke machine The Besnard Lakes shows are quite epic, even though both times I've seen them they've been opening for someone else. There has been a considerable amount of buzz around this band for quite sometime so I wouldn't be surprised if they become a lot more popular. Check out their Myspace page HERE to hear a few songs.



Sorry about the lack of posting recently. As it gets closer to the end of the year there are a lot less noteworthy albums and concerts to report on. Plus, my new job definitely has limited the amount of shows I see during the week. I will have a review of the Peter Bjorn and John/The Besnard Lakes concert up soon. Also, stay tuned for my lists of Best Shows and Best Albums of the year.


New Music: Wax Fang

This is my first official "Next Big Thing" post. I stumbled across Wax Fang after reading that My Morning Jacket's Jim James took them out on tour because he is such a big fan. This Louisville, Kentucky band may draw some comparisons to the aforementioned group but only if My Morning Jacket were fronted by David Bowie instead of James. Wax Fang's second album, La La Land was just released on their website and emusic on November 17. Wax Fang's strengths are the ability to have a classic rock vibe while sounding completely fresh at the same time. I've already listened to it a half dozen times since I got it and I wouldn't be surprised to find it very high on my year-end list. Please do yourself a favor and head over to their Myspace page to check out a few songs. Then zip over to their website or emusic to pick up the album.


Concert Announcement: DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist

02/05/07 The Voodoo Lounge, Kansas City
DJ Shadow:

Cut Chemist:

If you know very well, you probably know my obsession with DJ Shadow. Other than releasing what I think is one of the best 5 albums of the 90's (his 1996 debut, Endtroducing) he completely changed my musical path. Shadow revolutionized the mash-up of electronic and hip-hop music into what is now referred to most of the time as Trip-Hop. Shadow's music always had a strong base in Hip-Hop and from him I discovered a ton of great music I probably wouldn't have checked out otherwise. My friends and I even drove to Chicago five years ago to see him play live, and it was completely worth it. DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist (Jurassic 5) have worked together a few times before. Their bootleg mixtape, Brainfreeze, leaked years ago and contained DJ sets from both mixing rare funk and soul records with a few beats of their own thrown in as well. I'm not sure if they're shows will be their own stuff or just DJ sets, but either way it will be worth it for Shadow presence alone.


Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals

The comparisons are already being thrown around with every mention of Brooklyn's Yeasayer. With the list including Animal Collective, TV on the Radio, David Byrne and Peter Gabriel it's easy to be intrigued. I'll admit the first time I listened to their debut album, All Hour Cymbals, a few songs sounded like the aforementioned artists but it's clear after a few spins they have their own thing happening. There is so much going on here it's hard to wrap your head around. The mix of world beat and almost gospel-like vocals permeate the record but it never leaves the feel of a rock band at heart. This is one of those bands whose genre-bending sound will be impossible to classify and who very well could be the next big thing. All Hour Cymbals is also a late qualifier for one of the best albums of the year, it certainly contains the years best single: "2080". Special thanks to the middleCoast for the heads-up on this one.


Concert of the Week: The Hold Steady

The most fun you can have at a rock show outside of The Drive-By Truckers is without a doubt The Hold Steady. Craig Finn is one of the best frontmen working today and The Hold Steady bring a brand of rock worthy of the Springsteen comparisons. The Hold Steady will be playing this Tuesday night at The Granada with Art Brut.


Show Review: The New Pornographers

11/04/07 Liberty Hall, Lawrence

Carl Newman sure can write a near perfect pop song. In fact, over the course on The New Pornographers four albums, he has written a crap-load of them. All of The New Pornographers albums are power-pop masterpieces, including this years slow-burner Challengers. Their live shows aren't really moving affairs but they are a lot of fun. I've been lucky to see Neko Case with them all three times I've seen them play, so the really exciting thing about last night's performance was the appearance of Dan Bejar. Dan Bejar is the man behind Destroyer and Swan Lake (alongside Wolf Parade's Spencer Krug) and he also writes and sings a few songs on all The New Pornographers albums. Bejar also rarely tour with the band so it was a real treat to have him play with them last night. Bejar would wander on stage to sing his songs and most of the time would wonder right back off after the song was over. The band was the tightest I've ever seen them with the songs off their first album, Mass Romantic making the biggest splashes. Their fanbase has been steadily growing for a while now and they could be the next "indie" band to make it huge.


Random YouTubes: The New Pornographers

Since The New Pornographers are making another trip through Lawrence this Sunday evening at Liberty Hall, I thought I would post a few video's of their videos. This appearance is extra exciting because both Neko Case AND Dan Bejar (Destroyer, Swan Lake) will be joining them.

First is the title track from this year's Challengers:
Next is 'Use It' from 2005's Twin Cinema:

Finally, my favorite New Pornographers video, "My Slow Descent Into Alcoholism" from 2000's Mass Romantic: