New Music: Wolf Parade - Expo 86

Sometimes I feel like I gush about all things Wolf Parade; including every side project that Dan and Spencer are involved in. Since those two are so prolific one or the other seems to have a new album out every six months. This time it's the third LP from the band that pays the bills, Wolf Parade. The album is titled Expo 86 and comes out tomorrow (June 29th) on Sup Pop. With a debut album that rivals the best debut albums and a disappointing sophomore release, the band has a lot to live up to on the third album. I'm not exactly sure if they deliver but it's a fun listen along the way.

Just like on the other Wolf Parade albums, both members share the best songs on the albums. As a huge Spencer Krug fan, I'd like to be able to say his songs are the better of the two, but with Dan Boeckner songs like 'Little Golden Age' it's hard to. Boeckner definitely brings more pop sensibility to Wolf Parade as usual with songs like 'Ghost Pressure' and 'Yulia'.

Krug is usually a bit more out there, but seems to play things fairly straight on Wolf Parade albums. The album opener 'Cloud Shadow on the Mountain' is the most traditional Krug song and sounds like it could fit perfectly on a Sunset Rubdown album. Another Krug highlight is 'What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way)' but his best song, and the best track on the album, is definitely 'In the Direction of the Moon'. The track definitely relies heavily on a synthesizer like the rest of the album does but when combined with the spastic guitar, the track hits on all notes and is the highlight of the album.

Expo 86 doesn't hit the highs found on Apologies to the Queen Mary but it also doesn't quite have the lows that At Mount Zoomer had. All around it's a pretty enjoyable album and is what we've come to expect from anything Krug and Boeckner touch these days.



New Music/Video: Suckers - 'Black Sheep'

One of the albums I've been enjoying the most over the last few weeks is Wild Smile, the debut album from Suckers. At first I thought that Suckers were a nice mix between Yeasayer, Liars and TV on the Radio, but after a few spins, they really are doing they're own thing.

Suckers will be in Lawrence on Tuesday October 12th at The Bottleneck opening for another favorite of mine, Menomena. With the buzz beginning to build on Suckers debut LP combined with the fantastic Menomena album due out in a few months, this show will surely be a sell out by the time it comes close.

Here's the video for one of the best tracks from Wild Smile, the song is called 'Black Sheep'.



Video: Black Mountain - 'Old Fangs'

Black Mountain is getting ready to release their third full-length album, Wilderness Heart, on September 14th. Not only is Black Mountain front-man Stephen McBean a consistent source of fantastic psychedelic rock, but the album also has one of the best album covers of the year.

Here's the video for the first single off the new album, 'Old Fangs':


Concert Announcements: The Walkmen, Bob Dylan, She & Him, The Avett Brothers and more...

I've been slacking on the blogging recently and there have been a handful of great concert announcements for this fall that I need to catch up on. I'll use any excuse to post a Zooey Deschanel picture so let's start with She & Him. Deschanel and M. Ward will be at The Uptown in KC on Monday August 30th.

A few other highlights: The Walkmen and Japandroids will play a sure to sell out show at The Bottleneck in Lawrence on Tuesday October 19th.

Bob Dylan will be at Starlight on August 7th and The Avett Brothers will play the Crossroads on September 25th.

Here's the full list of shows that were recently announced:

Sat 08/07 Bob Dylan @ Starlight Theater
Sat 08/14 William Elliott Whitmore @ The Bottleneck
Wed 08/18 Ty Segall/Baths @ The Jackpot
Mon 08/30 She & Him @ The Uptown
Sat 09/11 Autolux @ The Bottleneck
Thu 09/23 Matt & Kim @ The Granada
Thu 09/23 School Of Seven Bells/Active Child @ The Record Bar
Sat 09/25 The Avett Brothers @ The Crossroads
Sat 09/25 Wovenhand/Serena Maneesh @ The Jackpot
Mon 10/11 The Toasters @ The Jackpot
Sat 10/16 Born Ruffians @ The Riot Room
Tue 10/19 The Walkmen/Japandroids @ The Bottleneck

Click the red link in the left column to keep track of all the shows coming up in the area.



Upcoming Shows: Mumford & Sons

If you haven't gotten tickets for tomorrow nights Mumford & Sons show at The Record Bar, you might be out of luck. Unless you want to pay 5 times the ticket price online, the show is sold out. However, you still have a chance to see them early tomorrow morning. The band will be playing a "Kegs & Eggs" show for 96.5 the buzz at The Firefly Lounge in Westport tomorrow morning at 6AM. I have no idea what to expect as far as how many people will show up that early, but the buzz listening base doesn't really seem to be the early rising type. Be there early for a chance to see an early morning acoustic show from Mumford & Sons.

Also, if you do have tickets to the show tomorrow night, you'll be happy to learn that Omaha natives The Mynabirds will be opening for Mumford & Sons. The Mynabirds singer sounds like a perfect mix of Jenny Lewis and Chan Marshall, so if you have tickets, get there early to check them out!



Concert Announcement: Built To Spill

Built To Spill are a band I've never seen live, but are on my short list of bands I've been meaning to see for quite a while. They'll be another chance Sunday, September 19th at The Beaumont in Kansas City.

Built To Spill are a band that rides the line between indie rock and jam band world and they've been putting out great albums for almost 20 years now. Not only is Doug Martsch probably the best guitar player in indie rock since J Mascis, but the band is also capable of writing really great pop songs. If you're looking for something to check out of theirs for the show, my recommendation is the 1999 album Keep It Like A Secret.

Tickets for the show go on sale Saturday, June 26th.


Videos: Big Boi

Is Outkast's Big Boi going to put out the best album of 2010? From these first two singles it appears as if he might at least be in the consideration once his solo disc, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, gets released on July 6th. First is the single 'Shutterbug' that was released a few weeks ago with a video that matches the pace of the beat:

Here's the newest single (and in my opinion, the better track) and video for 'General Patton':



Favorite Songs of the 2000's: Fleet Foxes- 'Mykonos' (2008)

After becoming indie darlings and getting as big as being the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, it's hard to listen to Fleet Foxes now without preconceptions. A band that gets so much hype goes through the trappings of being the best new thing all the way through the backlash and being panned for being too hip. Sitting back down with Fleet Foxes self-titled debut and Sun Giant EP, it's hard to deny that this is a band that wrote some tremendous songs on their first full length. Much like Vampire Weekend (whom I'm not a fan of), Fleet Foxes will have an unfair amount of expectations to live up to when their second album is finally finished and released.

Anyway, back to the point of this post and one of my favorite songs of the decade, 'Mykonos'. A year or so before Fleet Foxes hit my ears Midlake's album The Trials of Van Occupanther had gotten me back into 70's Americana/easy listening stuff like Fleetwood Mac and Crosby, Stills and Nash. I was looking for something else new that fell into that same category and Fleet Foxes came around at just the right time. When I first got the Sun Giant EP, I knew after the first spin that I had found one of my new favorite bands. The best song off that album without a doubt is 'Mykonos'. I was hooked within the first thirty seconds as I couldn't shake the feeling that these guys liked the band America a lot. That's not a bad thing either as America wrote some of the better country tinged pop tunes in the 70's and 80's (including the soundtrack for The Last Unicorn). The best part about 'Mykonos' is without a doubt the breakdown at the end. I'm a sucker for harmonies and Fleet Foxes don't disappoint on that note.

Fleet Foxes - 'Mykonos':



Concert Announcement: Menomena

Portland's finest Menomena will be in Lawrence this fall on Tuesday, October 12th. Previously I'd ranked the last Menomena album, Friend Or Foe, at #17 on my favorite albums of 2007 list. Although it doesn't come out until July 27th, the new album, Mines, has already leaked into the interwebs and it's really, really good. By the time this show actually comes around a ticket might be hard to come by so grab one as soon as they go on sale and look out for a post about Mines in late July.



New Music: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Before Today

Ariel Pink seems to be next in line for indie stardom. With a past in lo-fi, pitchfork approved music and a connection to Animal Collective, it's a recipe for being the next big thing on the indie scene. Not a newcomer, Ariel Pink has released a handful of albums (mostly on Animal Collective's Paw Tracks) in the past six years. I can't speak to his past recorded output though as 2010's Before Today is my first exposure to Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti. The album is out officially tomorrow, June 8th.

I heard the hype around the early release of the single 'Round and Round' and it quickly became one of my favorite songs of the year. I've listened to that song more than any other song that came out in 2010 and I'm still not tired of it. It's got every bit and piece that I enjoy about this album. The sleazy 70's disco vibe meets indie rock is heavy on the single and the whole album.

There are a ton of other great songs on the album as well. 'Bright Lit Blue Skies', 'Fright Night (Nevermore)' and 'Beverly Kills' could fit nicely at your next roller skating party along with 'Round and Round'. There are a few serious missteps on this album that keep it from being one of the top 10 albums of 2010, but there is still plenty to love here. Following one of the worst songs on the album for example is the yacht-rock jam, 'Can't Hear My Eyes', which manages to erase the previous song from memory.

This album definitely isn't for everyone...to be honest, it's pretty odd. It will most likely be an album that's cool to like, which in turn would usually make me hate it if it weren't so much fun. To confirm my comment about the album's weirdness, here's a video for the song 'L'estat (acc. to the widow's maid)' from the Before Today.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - 'L'estat (acc. to the widow's maid)':



Upcoming Show: The Temper Trap & Warpaint

Australian band The Temper Trap have been riding a wave of success recently from the placement of their infectious single, 'Sweet Disposition', in a few commercials and the indie-approved flick (500) Days Of Summer. The bands 2009 debut album, Conditions, is full of similar U2 inspired hooks and guitars and is definitely worth checking out. The band will be making their first stop ever in Kansas City when they play The Crossroads next Tuesday, June 8th.

What makes me almost more excited is the fact that LA band Warpaint are the openers on this tour. Warpaint are a hazy art rock group that have been building buzz since they were signed to Rough Trade after putting out their EP Exquisite Corpse. They are currently working on a debut full-length album for Rough Trade and after it comes out you'll surely want to be able to say you saw them when...

In case you've been under a rock, here's the video for 'Sweet Disposition':

Warpaint - 'Stars':



Concert Announcement: Pixies

Pixies will be bringing their 20th anniversary of Doolittle tour back to the States and Kansas City was lucky enough to get one of the dates. The band will be at The Uptown on Friday, September 17th.

According to Ticketmaster, the show goes on sale on Monday June 14th at 10 AM and that Fuck Buttons will be opening.



New Music: Twin Sister - Color Your Life EP

Twin Sister are a relatively new band out of the Long Island area. The quintet formed around 2008 and have just released their second EP titled Color Your Life. Twin sister make really good dreamy indie pop. Vocalist Andrea Estella has a light, wispy voice that matches well with the bands hazy music. There are a few great tracks on this EP, but the highlight has to be 'All Around and Away We Go'.

The band will be touring the country this summer opening Bear In Heaven (who were really great earlier this year opening for Cymbals Eat Guitars at The Replay). The two bands will again be at The Replay in Lawrence on Friday, July 30th. It should be a fantastic show.

This is a fan made video for the track 'All Around and Away We Go', but I'm mainly just posting it for the song:



Concert Announcement: The National

Probably the most excited I've been about a concert announcement in recent memory. The National will be making a rare trip to Kansas City where they will be at The Uptown on Wednesday September 29th. They will be touring behind one of the best albums of the year High Violet. Owen Pallett (formerly known as Final Fantasy) will be opening the show. Tickets are $25 and go on sale this Saturday, June 5th.