New Music: The Antlers - Hospice

I'm always a little torn about reading record reviews. In fact, I've been boycotting reading any reviews (especially on Pitchfork) of albums I haven't heard yet. I've found myself not giving many albums enough of a shot because P4K gave them a bad review. On the flip side a few times I've read a review of an album that I gave up on because the review convinced me to give it another chance. That's what happened with The Antlers new record, Hospice. I had downloaded this off emusic when they self-released it earlier this year and after giving it a spin or two, didn't really think it was that interesting. Many times I listen to new music while doing something else, which means if it doesn't catch my ear instantly, I've overlook some really great stuff.

Well the album is getting an official label release (physically out August 18th...digitally available now) from Frenchkiss and it's starting to get a bit more buzz from music sites and blogs. One of my favorite blogs posted this review of Hospice and it can sum up the record way better than I could. That review made me want to at least give the album another chance with my full attention and I'm really glad I did.

See, this isn't an album that will be at the top of everyone's year end lists. It will be on a few, possibly even more than I'm guessing, but the ones that it does appear on, it will be in the top 10. I'm a big fan of records like this, that have a running theme without being a concept album. I love albums with epic highs and lows like this one has. It's emotional and powerful without being too heavy-handed or inaccessible. Like I said, it definitely isn't going to do it for everyone, but many who stumble across this album will find themselves with one of their favorite and most listened to albums of the year.

They don't have a full tour in support of the re-release lined up quite yet, but if they do and are playing Lawrence or KC, you'll read about it here.


Concert Announcement: Leonard Cohen, Wilco & More

I bitch a lot about the lack of stops in Lawrence or KC by many tours, especially with so many groups visiting Omaha now instead. Then concerts like this get announced and I'm okay with it again for a short while. Leonard Cohen will be at The Midland in KC on November 10th. He is a legend and if you are a fan (or have even just heard of him) you probably want to be able to say you saw him at this show.

Wilco will be coming though the area as well, this time stopping in KC at The Crossroads on October 6th. This is the same venue they played back in 2007 and that show owned....this one most likely will too.

Other shows of note:

08/18 Roadside Graves @ The Replay, Lawrence
09/14 The Mars Volta @ The Midland Theater, KC
09/15 Wavves @ The Jackpot, Lawrence
09/26 Social Distortion @ The Beaumont Club, KC
09/27 Richard Lloyd & The Sufi Monkey Trio @ The Record Bar, KC
09/28 And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead/The Secret Machines @ The Record Bar, KC
10/08 AC/DC @ The Sprint Center, KC
10/17 Mirah @ The Jackpot, Lawrence
11/10 Why?/Au @ The Jackpot, Lawrence




Concert Announcement: Bruce Springsteen,
Blitzen Trapper & More

Bruce Springsteen is coming back through The Sprint Center in KC with the E-Street Band. The show is October 26th with tickets going on sale on August 8th. I missed him the first time he played the Sprint Center, but I won't miss this one.

A few other shows of note:

  • Black Francis (aka Frank Black) 7/27 @ The Riot Room, KC
  • The Whigs 8/7 @ Jackpot, Lawrence
  • The Breeders/Times New Viking 8/8 @ The Bottleneck, Lawrence
  • Steve Earle/Allison Moorer 8/22 @ Liberty Hall, Lawrence
  • The Brunettes 8/23 @ The Record Bar, KC
  • Dead Meadow 9/3 @ The Riot Room, KC
  • Grizzly Bear/Beach House 10/1 @ The Blue Note, Columbia
  • Blitzen Trapper 10/18 @ The Jackpot, Lawrence

As always, the full calendar is HERE.



Video: Cass McCombs - 'You Saved My Life'

This is a great Sunday morning tune. I've previously read a bit about Cass McCombs but hadn't heard any of his music before running across this video on My Old Kentucky Blog. Immediately after watching this video for the first time, I proceeded to replay the video four more times in a row just to hear the song. I'm not sure exactly what it is about the track, but I'm hooked. I ended up picking up his new album, Catacombs, this morning but haven't finished listening to it quite yet. It sounds very promising so if it's something great, you'll surely read something else about it here soon. For now, here's the video for the first single 'You Saved My Life':

Cass McCombs Myspace



New Music: Monsters Of Folk

The Monsters Of Folk are a supergroup comprised of M. Ward, My Morning Jacket's Jim James and Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis. Their long rumored album will finally see the light of day as their self-titled album will be released on September 22nd by Shangri-La records. I'm expecting great stuff as James and Ward are two of my favorite songwriters...this could be epic or an obscene disappointment.

In other news, we're big My Morning Jacket fans here if you can't tell (well....at least I am), so any news concerning any member is exciting stuff. Not only is Jim James involved with the MoF project, but he's also got another album hitting shelves soon. On August 4th, ATO will release his six song tribute to George Harrison released under the pseudonym Yim Yames with a portion of the proceeds going to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Recorded with only a guitar and vocals just days after Harrison's passing, James recently added backing vocals and other touch-ups to the tunes and it's available to pre-order (and immediately download) or just stream HERE. The whole EP is worth checking out but especially James' cover of 'Love You To', from The Beatles masterpiece Revolver, which is absolutely stunning.



New Music: Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer

I've been neglecting this blog recently, but only because early summer seems to be a downtime for music. Other than a few shows now and then there hasn't been too much to get thrilled about. There also haven't been that many great albums that have came out in the past few weeks. The reason I've been putting off writing about this album specifically is because I didn't want to say I had another new favorite album of the year so far too prematurely.

If you do a search for Spencer Krug on this blog you'll be able to tell I'm a big fan of most everything he does. He put out one of the best rock debuts in years with Wolf Parade and they followed it up with an extremely solid follow-up. His contributions to Swan Lake have been great, but overall both albums have left me wanting more, especially considering the resumes of Krug, Dan Bejar and Carey Mercer. Then there is Sunset Rubdown, which seems like it's always been his favorite musical outlet. Their second album, Shut Up I Am Dreaming, is what made me such a big fan of his and still contains some of the best music he's ever recorded, but the album definitely began to drag at the end. 2007's Random Spirit Lover was a lot tighter than Shut Up but still never really got off the ground for me. I keep waiting and waiting for Krug to release his masterpiece with Sunset Rubdown, but it never seems to happen until possibly now.

Although Dragonslayer contains all of the things you've come to expect with Krug's songwriting, it really seems like this is the culmination of everything he's done so far. The songs are all over five minutes, but they never drag. Songs like the album opener 'Silver Moons' and 'Apollo and the Buffalo and Anna Anna Anna Oh!' would fit in perfectly on the last albums, but where as they would have been the best tracks of Random Spirit Lover, here they might not even be in the top three on the album. Dragonslayer also contains there most radio friendly stuff they've done with tracks like 'Idiot Heart' and 'Black Swan'. In fact, the only misstep the album has is 'Paper Lace', a song that appeared first on the last Swan Lake album. This version here is better, but it still takes up the place of something completely new.

The album ends with a brilliant three song finale. 'You Go on Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)' begins with an almost reggae sounding guitar riff before exploding into one of the hardest rockers on the record. My favorite song on the record is the second to last tune, 'Nightingale/December Song'. Kevin and I were discussing this album a week or two ago and he commented that much of Krug's stuff sounds like it would fit in the times of knights and kings and such. I thought maybe Krug just writes all his songs at the Renaissance Festival. Either way, no song on the album echos that vibe to much of his music/lyrics like 'Nightingale/December Song'. The album closer is the longest song clocking in at just over ten minutes. 'Dragon's Lair' finishes off this album perfectly because throughout the ten minutes if touches almost every sound and feeling that the first seven tracks do.

It's only July and there is a lot of year yet, but this album definitely moves Phoenix, Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective all down a spot to take over my top album of the year so far. Like I said, it's not a new sound for Sunset Rubdown, it's just them taking everything they've done previously and doing it perfectly for 8 tracks. I've always thought that as great as Krug is, he never sounded confident on his albums. There would be flashes of brilliance but the rest sounded like it was over thought and picked apart. This album truly sounds like Spencer Krug is just now finally hitting his stride and showing what he's capable of. If that is the case, we could be seeing one of the new genius' of Rock N Roll.