Videos: Local Natives & Surfer Blood

I've already expressed my fondness for Local Native's debut album, Gorilla Manor (out in the US on 02/16 on Frenchkiss). Here's a video for one of the better tunes on the album, 'Airplanes'.

Another band that will make a ton of noise in 2010 is Florida's Surfer Blood. Surfer Blood's debut album, Astro Coast, is out now and you can catch them at The Replay in Lawrence on Saturday March 13th. Here's their video for the fantastic single, 'Swim':

Local Natives Myspace
Surfer Blood Myspace



Favorite Songs of the 2000's:
My Morning Jacket - 'Run Thru' (2003)

Surprisingly enough, I don't think I've mentioned My Morning Jacket here nearly as much as I talk about them to anyone that will listen (Ed: after searching the site, I've mentioned MMJ here a ton, but have only written actual posts about them a handful of times). Truth be told, despite not loving the last album (2008's Evil Urges) they are still probably my favorite living band today. This definitely won't be the only My Morning Jacket song that I post under my favorite tunes of the decade.

I'd like to be able to say that I've been with them from the start but I haven't. I didn't first purchase a My Morning Jacket album until their third album came out, 2003's It Still Moves. That's the album that hooked me and the first song that really blew me away on that album was 'Run Thru'. There are so many things about this song that make it great but the part that grabbed me is the breakdown and jam at the end of the song. The song breaks for an instant and the driving bass line and beat swell into a mini jam. It breaks again and a keyboard riff drives the song into another frenzied jam, highlighted by a Jim James howl. Finally, when you think the song might be over, the original guitar riff comes searing back. It's really pretty cool, as you can see in the video below. The whole song is great, but the highlight of the tune begins about three minutes and twenty seconds in.


Upcoming Show: A.A. Bondy (01/29/10)

If you're like me and don't make it out to many week night shows at smaller clubs, then you cherish when someone you dig plays on a Friday night.

Such is the case this Friday when A.A. Bondy will be at The Jackpot in Lawrence. Bondy could definitely be classified in the country singer songwriter class with Jason Isbell or Jay Farrar, and he's definitely proven with his two outstanding albums that he's as talented as either one.

Willie Mason and Katlyn Conroy will open the show.

Here's a video of Bondy playing 'Mightiest Of Guns' off 2009's When The Devil's Loose:



New Music: Beach House - Teen Dream

Baltimore's Beach House has been around for a while now, but their third album Teen Dream (out this Tuesday January, 26th on Sub Pop), will certainly catapult them to the top of the indie rock food chain.

It's early in the year but many of the first quarter of 2010 albums have already leaked. Out of the pack of these records, the Beach House album is by far the best. It continues the fuzzed out, dream pop that they've perfected on their first two albums. Where the first albums may have contained their best songs, Teen Dream is by far their most consistent and enjoyable album.

Beach House will be at the Jackpot in Lawrence on April, 6th. Make sure you pick up Teen Dream on Tuesday as this is already looking to be the first entry for best album of 2010. You can currently steam the whole album over at NPR.

Here's their first video off Teen Dream for 'Silver Soul':

Beach House Myspace



What Kind of Guitar You Drivin'?

Even before I started playing guitar (and subsequently learned their history, dynamics, and my personal preferences), I developed an affinity and distaste for certain models, and would project that feeling towards the bands that played those particular instruments. I don't feel embarrassed by this, as I believe that all of us, particularly when we first begin to identify and associate ourselves with bands that we "discover", create supremely superficial reasons to like or dislike an artist: whether it's clothes, hair color, the way they talk/act. Not only did I then over time develop a consistent opinion about bands/guitarists based on what they played, but I also created strong emotional connections to certain models that influenced what I played and even how I played them. So let's run through a semi-chronological history of the six-string wonders that shaped my musical life, for better or worse. Like a women, if they were electrified and could be turned on with a switch. I hear that's possible, but I don't believe it.

Chuck Berry and His Semi-Hollow

My grandfather, Donald Anderson, was a DJ in Wichita, KS. throughout the 1950s, and as a perk he brought home free records for my dad and uncle before they were out, and my dad was able to see some shows as a youngster- occasionally getting some autographs. His two most prized, at least in my opinion, are his Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry. The Berry autograph is framed next to a picture similar to the one above, featuring a similar guitar. Although Berry never stuck to one guitar- this man would check them in at flights, and if damaged, oh well- he preferred the semi-hollows. I loved how big, red, and classy it looked, liked the cars of the day. Guitars are like cars, in that sense, and Berry's Gibson's ES 335s in particular always caught my eye. My second guitar I ever bought, while not a Gibson, was a red semi-hollow.

Jackson Guitars: Where It's Always 1986

Bottom line: If I see you play these or anything that bears a close resemblance, I will scoff and walk away. Bon Iver could walk out with one, or Wilco, and I cut all ties. Why? Mainly, I can't take someone seriously who plays these. I instantly associate you with hair bands or metal bands from the 1980s. You become Dokken, or even Queensryche (who I don't dislike but can't look at without only thinking of "Jet City Woman"). A guitar shouldn't date you- bands play vintage guitars from the 50s and we don't think for a second that they SOUND like that- but these do. This poster looks like something on Bill S. Preston, Esq.'s ceiling, but it's from 2003.


This may be hypocritical, but when I was 14 I loved Ibanez guitars, even though they were similar to Jackson. HOWEVER, I thought the cuts in the body were more subtle, smooth, and visionary, and the fact that Steve Vai pulled out a seven-string made it something beyond the time period I lived in (it even had a built in handle!). I fantasized about playing with the technical skill that Vai possessed. This was the first instrumental album I ever bought, and loved, although I don't know if "soul" would fit into his lexicon. There was a red Ibanez at the guitar store I took lessons at that I played all the time and felt perfect, but for some reason it had The Grateful Dead logo on it, which I never really understood. This was the first guitar I imagined owning.

My British Obsession= My First Guitar

In 1995 I developed an obsession with all things Oasis. I loved the British press and their constant use of hyperbole to blow everything out of proportion. I loved their excess, and being in college, I liked to at least think I could relate (not particularly). The brash, loud, arena-rock sound I thought was perfectly represented by their guitars. Noel Gallagher played a semi-hollow Epiphone, a cheaper version of Gibson (although owned by the parent company and a maker of quality instruments), and eventually had a line named after him -The Supernova. After a five hear hiatus from playing, I joined a band after college, and decided I needed to finally buy a nice guitar to call my own. I walked in to the Musician's Friend Warehouse in Kansas City, and after wandering around for thirty minutes, stumbled on a blue Supernova. Price? $600. Why? No case. That's half off. It was meant to be! I walked out, guitar literally in hand, and have been in love since. It was also the first guitar I named: Elsa, after a line from "Supersonic". My true first love.

Saved By New Zealanders

Not only did the Kiwis provide a wonderful director on Peter Jackson, they also gave us 60s-style garage bands in the early 200s who gave me hope for the state of music. Sick of boy bands and bland mainstream rock, I happened along the D4, a New Zealand band that actually had three covers (including a couple by Johnny Thunders) on their first album. It WAS like the 60s again! They weren't groundbreaking, but it felt like a sincere rock again, and at this same time, right when I thought music was something I could no longer get excited about, along came The Datsuns, The Hives, The Strokes, The Flaming Sideburns, and numerous other groups that may not have lasted, but at least brought guitar focused rock back to the populace. This Gibson double cutaway was played by The D4, and was the second guitar I bought, and my first real Gibson. Despite loving it's look and sound, it ultimately was too small for my lanky frame and was heavy at the head, making for constant adjustments. Sadly, the first and only guitar I sold, although it was a few years later.


Concert Announcement: The Flaming Lips/The Dead Weather/Minus The Bear/White Rabbits

Looks like I might be making my way to Sandstone for just the second time in a decade for this show. The Flaming Lips are headlining a show at Sandstone on April 23rd and every single other band on the bill is worth checking out as well. I wasn't too impressed with The Dead Weather's album, but seeing Jack White play guitar live is always a treat. I'm a casual fan of Minus The Bear but have heard good things about them live. White Rabbits are a (semi) local band that originated in Columbia but now call NYC home...and I can confirm that their live shows are pretty great as well.

Tickets are $31.65 and can be purchased HERE.

The Flaming Lips Myspace
The Dead Weather Myspace
Minus The Bear Myspace
White Rabbits Myspace



Favorite Songs of the 2000's:
Wolf Parade - 'I'll Believe In Anything' (2005)

I'm eventually going to compile a list of my favorite albums of this past decade. Honestly, I have a hard time putting albums like Merriwhether Post Pavilion next to stuff like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot right now. I need to let the best albums of the last couple of years sink in for a while longer before I could rank them all together. In the meantime I thought that I would do some posts over the next however long of some of my favorite songs of the decade. These are the all time desert island songs, not just tracks that I liked a lot. Nope, these are the tracks I love; that I still blast in my car as loud as I can stand when they come up on my ipod.

'I'll Believe In Anything' - Wolf Parade

It's no secret if you read this blog then you know I'm a huge Spencer Krug fan. Even though this track was originally recorded as a Sunset Rubdown song, the version that Wolf Parade recorded for Apologies to the Queen Mary, is the best one out there. Also, while I don't think it's Krug's best track ever, it's hard to argue with 'I'll Believe In Anything'. I've turned people who would never like indie rock onto this song, there is just no denying the greatness (not to mention the video is fabulous as well).

"If I could take the fire out from the water
I'd take you where nobody knows you
And nobody gives a damn"



Concert Announcement: Megafaun

It's official: there are now more shows in April than I have gas & beer money for. This time the show is North Carolina's Megafaun, who will be at The Replay in Lawrence on Sunday, April 11th. Megafaun's most recent album, Gather, Form & Fly, was my 10th favorite album of 2009 and rightfully so as I haven't stopped listening to it yet. I was also lucky enough to buy tickets to a Bon Iver show in Omaha last year to find later that Megafaun was the opener. Their live show only made me enjoy the album that much more and they'll put on a fantastic show at a place like the Replay.

Here's the album opener, 'Kaufman's Ballad':

Here's Megafaun with Bon Iver at the show in Omaha that I was at. Both bands came out for Bon Iver's encore and played Megafaun's song, 'Worried Mind'. The audio cuts out at times, but I had to post this one since I was in attendance.

Megafaun Myspace

  • Another tour date of note is Shearwater, Wye Oak and Hospital Ships...all of whom will be appearing at The Bottleneck on Thursday, April 8th. I've got a copy of the new Shearwater album, and I'm enjoying it quite a bit more than the last one. Too many shows in April...



Photo from www.theequasi.com

Rejoice! Rejoice! However, only if you are either a) fans of Quasi, a product of a semi-side project started in the early 1990s by Sam Coomes (Elliot Smith, Heatmiser, Built to Spill) & Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney, Stephen Malmkus and the Jicks), or b) fans of Sleater-Kinney, particularly if you believe that she is one of the greatest rock drummers of her generation.

I happen to fall into choice b. Although I have been aware that she was in Quasi for that last eight years or so, I have not followed through in obtaining any of their music- even through illegal downloading. However, Quasi are coming out with a new album in February and are doing a brief promo tour, and luckily will be coming to The Record Bar, in KC, March 22nd, and I plan on attending. If you haven't had a chance, seeing Weiss live is a real treat, especially in such a small venue, and Quasi are a solid band that certainly harks back to that sidestream 90s sound.

Joanna Bolme, bassist for the Jicks, joined the band in the last couple of years, and they are now performing as a three piece. Here are some vids!

First clip is merely to show Janet's badass-ness. Yes, I am fixated.

Quasi, w/ Elliott Smith, cover "Paint It Black" (1999)

Here's an original, and better quality vid.

Quasi - Live at Disjecta - Sea Shanty on Vimeo.

Here's a link to their site, as well. Which at the moment is a little blah.

P.S.- I finally did listen to Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion on the plane ride to New Orleans, and my initial rating out of 10: 5.5

And I am being serious this time. I'm not sure what the big deal is, and I generally have an issue in being able to pay attention to a band that doesn't have a consistent drum beat (Sigur Ros being the one major exception) or melodies- nothing stuck in my head, so I just couldn't get into them, but they did some nice mixing and their last track, "Brother Sport", was cool, and that was a nice way to go out. My dad hated Hendrix when her first heard Axis, Bold as Love, so who knows?

On the plus side for myself, I began listening to The Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs. I'm about an 1/8th of the way through. Fantastic concept album(s).

I will continue to voice my hatred and contempt for AC, although I have no reason to do so, and really have no issue with them at all. I do it because it's fun to have a focal point for your anger, and maybe tick off the one fan who takes the joke personally. It's all opinion anyway, so why not be illogically bigoted towards one group above all others, with no real reason?


Concert Announcement: Phoenix

This is the another fantastic addition to the area's Spring concert schedule. Phoenix will be at the Uptown Theater on Wednesday, April 21st. If you happened to miss their secret show at the Record Bar last year, or like me you got cut off 10 people from the door because the place was full, you won't want to miss this show. Phoenix were also very high on my albums of the year list for 2009, holding down the Number 4 spot on the list.

Tickets go on sale this Saturday at 10 am CST, you can get them HERE.


RIP Jay Reatard

Very sad news that Jay Reatard passed away last night at the age of 29. Read more here.


Concert Announcement: Camera Obscura

Continuing the streak of bands I've never seen coming back through town is Camera Obscura. They'll be at the Bottleneck in Lawrence on Wednesday, April 7th. Camera Obscura are responsible for my 8th favorite album of 2009 and their first album, Let's Get Out Of This Country, is great as well.

Here's a video of them playing 'French Navy' (one of my favorite songs of 2009) live for Pitchfork's Cemetery Gates series:

>Camera Obscura Myspace



Concert Announcement: Beach House & more...

Beach House will be making their way through Lawrence this Spring. They'll be at The Jackpot on Tuesday, April 6th. Their third full-length, Teen Dream, will be out on on Sub Pop on January 26th. It leaked a while ago and I can already say that this is one of the best albums of 2010. It's very early but the album is absolutely breathtaking and by the time this show comes around, the buzz surrounding this band could easily fill the Jackpot.

Beach House Myspace

Here's a few other notable concerts announced recently:

02/05 Hercules and Love Affair (DJ Set) @ The Record Bar, KC
03/13 Surfer Blood @ The Replay, Lawrence
03/29 Xiu Xiu/Tune Yards @ The Jackpot, Lawrence
04/05 Passion Pit @ The Beaumont, KC
04/13 Japandroids @ The Bottleneck, Lawrence



Belated Resolutions for 2010

As I sit and watch a really boring BCS Championship game, I ran through a mental list of my resolutions for the new year, which I usually don't have any desire to do. This year I need the extra push, but rather than make you more disinterested with all of my resolutions, I'll just share my music-related (surprise) attempts at improvement. So:

1. Contribute to Matt's blog once a week: This is a tall order, but even if it's a couple of sentences, a video, concert post, whatever. Something to share the load and keep the content fresh (and keep it real!). There is no way I will be able to go to all of the shows or delve into all of the music coming out, but I figure I can at least throw in a good opinion here or there (such as why is Luke Wilson slumming for AT&T, or does anyone think Taco Bell commercials are funny?).

2. Record two "albums" this year: If any of you reading this happen to also be a "weekend recording artist", then you'll know that as much fun as it is to record music and/or play live, it's hard to find the time. Much like writing in this blog, it's such a rejuvenating release that once you stop doing it, life gets a little more bland, and you can start feeling a little older than you want to admit. We only meet once a week, and with conflicts arising here and there, a month has already gone by. Of course, instead of writing songs and getting prepped for our next session, I've been playing video games. Nothing kills your feeling of artistic prowess like staring at a tv screen for three hours until midnight. I will not use husband/parent responsibilities as a reason for my falling behind. Two albums, average of ten songs per.

3. Buy an album: I don't think I did that this year. Look, our budget has become a bit tighter than expected, my dad gets a ton of music, other people share. I can't help it. I vow to contribute financially.

4. Spend an evening a week listening to one album (either new or rarely listened to) in it's entirety: I can't remember the last time I really connected with an entire album in the past year (Bon Iver?), and as a result have felt a little more disconnected with the current music scene. I listen to music at work and on the business trips but too much is going on to really let me focus. I did, however, enjoy Nick Drake's Pink Moon while in the tub in Hartford. Any recommendations?

And I still don't get the big deal about Animal Collective.

My hope is that these resolutions will get me back into the musical flow and feed off of each other (new music inspires new ideas, write new songs, write about new things, etc..), and bring that element back into my life, because I do miss it. Quite a bit, I've found. You just have to work on it more when real life catches up with you.

What are your musical resolutions for 2010? Here's a video for inspiration:


Upcoming Show: Old Canes (Sat Jan 9th)

One of my New Year's Resolutions (that's a lie, I hate New Year's Resolutions and never make any) is to write about more local music here. To be honest, as much live music as I consume, I don't see enough local bands. I read a lot of band names on handbills and websites, but I couldn't tell you what most of them sound like. That's unfortunate and I hope to remedy that problem in 2010.

That said, there is a show this Saturday that you should really check out, and they happen to be local. Old Canes is the side project of Appleseed Cast frontman Chris Crisci and he is joined by a handful of really talented folks from local bands: Kelly Hangauer (4th Of July), Lucas Oswald (Minus Story), Taylor Holenbeck, Joey Henry (Calamity Cubes), Jordan Geiger (Minus Story), John Anderson (Boy's Life / White Whale). The band's second album, Feral Harmonic, came out last year and was #35 on my favorite 50 albums of the year list (Appleseed Cast's most recent album was #49 too) and truth be told, if I had more time to spend with it, it probably would have ranked much higher.

Old Canes will be at The Record Bar this Saturday, January 9th in Kansas City. The Record Bar's website says tickets are 8 bucks, see you there.

Old Canes Myspace

Look at all the work that was put into the new album, buy the album please and support these guys (hey, you could buy it at the show...).



Video: RJD2 - 'Let There Be Horns'

It would appear by this video that maybe RJD2 is back into making hip-hop beats rather than very mediocre pop music. Let's face it, when you're as good at what you do (as RJ proved he is with 2002's now classic Deadringer) you gotta stick with what works.

Here's the video for 'Let There Be Horns' which sounds like RJD2 back in true form. This is the opening track of RJD2's upcoming album The Colossus (out January 19th):



Soundgarden Reunite

This news is a fantastic start to 2010. After a 12 year hiatus, Soundgarden plans to reunite...more news here.

I still think Badmotorfinger is one of the greatest hard rock albums of all time and no matter what Chris Cornell has done in the past decade to prove otherwise, he's still an amazing vocalist. Believe me, if they make plans to come anywhere near KC, you'll read about it here.

Here's an old live video of 'Jesus Christ Pose' off Badmotorfinger: