New Noise :: Idlewild :: In Competition for the Worst Time

I tell this story every time that I'm drunk and Idlewild comes up in conversation, so if you're a friend or drinking buddy of mine and have heard this a million times, just skip to the end or something. I saw Idlewild at Irving Plaza in New York back in the fall of 2002 as part of the CMJ Music Festival. 100 Broken Windows had been a big hit with my fellow WUSC djs in 2000 as well as the more recently released Remote Part, and so even though I went to the show alone, I expected to see some kindred souls there. Slightly overweight or underweight guys with thick glasses, corduroy jackets, and way too many records at home. After all, it was CMJ. Pushing my way to the front, though, I noticed that the crowd was mostly girls. And not indie rocker girls, either! Very normal, kinda giggly, young girls.

I was freaked out. But the horror had just begun. The band took the stage, and the high-pitched squeals nearly did me in. See, I hadn't taken into account that Idlewild, while ear candy to a pretentious music geek, were scruffy Scots with sexy Scottish accents - eye candy to young ladies. There were even girls up front who had been waiting outside the theater since 11 am that morning. Even worse? The band ate this stuff up! I mean, I can't blame them really. But when you're expecting Roddy Woomble to be aloof and dour while conveying through music the harsh realities of growing up Scottish, it really throws you when he gives a smile, wink, and wave to some high school girl in the front row.

So I wasn't too surprised when the band's next album Warnings/Promises was full of watered-down, faux-sensitive crap. The kind that giggly girls everywhere enjoy. But with new album Make Another World scheduled for later this year, I'm hoping that the band has pulled itself together and gotten back to doing what they do best. I really can't judge by just this one track. There are things I really like in it that sound like the old Idlewild, but it hasn't sold me completely. But as that guy from Star Trek used to say, 'you don't have to take my word for it!' What do you think, folks?

Idlewild In Competition for the Worst Time

Musings :: And He's Talking to xxDaVeYxx, Who's Still in the XXnavyXX...

One day, I would like to hear a grindcore version of Billy Joel's "Piano Man."

I don't know about you, but I think that would be astounding.


New Noise :: Battles :: Atlas

I saw Battles a year or so ago, and it was one of those 'I must immediately buy everything these guys have ever made' moments. So you can imagine that I was pretty excited when I heard that they were putting out a new album finally. 'Atlas' is the first taste of the upcoming Mirrored LP, and it certainly doesn't disappoint. A lot of people might be thrown by the inclusion of vocals to the band's usual art-rock instrumental experiments, but I recall Tyondai Braxton using a few vocals when I saw them live, so it feels like a natural expansion of their sound to me. On 'Atlas,' the vocals are all distorted and freakish-sounding, but for some reason, catchy as all get out. John Stainer's drums are both meticulous and saltatory as always. And when the 'bridge' starts slowly building around 2:30 until finally crashing all the elements of the song together at the end, it sounds like music from the freakin' future. 'Atlas' will available on Apr. 2nd digitally as well as on 12" vinyl with a remix b-side by DJ Koze, and Mirrored will be out on May 15th, both courtesy of Warp Records. And make sure to check out the band's myspace for their upcoming tour dates which are not to be missed.

Battles Atlas

Buy Battles music here.


Tube :: Explosions in the Sky on Conan :: 02.20.07

In all his excitement, Tug forgot to mention the sweetest plum — IndieRocket's favorite Texas post-rockers Explosions in the Sky appear on Late Night with Conan O'Brien tonight (12:30 a.m. on NBC, for us Eastern seaboard types). It's also the first time — we think, although no one's really sure — that an instrumental band has appeared on the late-night landmark. So huzzah for them!

Explosions in the Sky
"Welcome, Ghosts"

Pick Up :: 2.20.07

You know, it's been awfully shoegaze-y around IndieRocket lately, and for that, I almost feel like I should apologize. The truth is that we IndieRocketeers love all kinds of music, and we certainly don't want to put any one genre above another. So if we seem partial to shoegaze stuff as of late, then just accredit it to the fact that there's some amazing stuff coming out of the genre and all its subsets as of late. And it's our blog. We can be partial if we like. So there. One such band that we're excited about as of late is Explosions in the Sky, whose new album All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone was just released today. A couple of us IndieRocketeers are lifting off for Asheville in March to see these guys at the Grey Eagle, and if you download this, the final track off the new album, you'll certainly see why. It's one of the most uplifting things I've heard in a while.

Explosions in the Sky So Long, Lonesome

Buy All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone here.

Today also finds K-Os's new album finally being released in the US. For those who don't know, K-Os mixes hip-hop with jazz, funk, soul, country, and just about anything else you can think of. The results are eclectic yet catchy, making K-Os one of my favorite hip-hop artists ever. Take this track for example. With the handclaps and amazing hook, I think this track is just as infectious as "Hey Ya" was a couple years back, but "Sunday Morning" is obviously a lot more serious than asking girls to shake it like outdated film stock.

K-Os Sunday Morning

Buy Atlantis: Hymns for Disco here.


Get Out! :: American Gun @ Art Bar :: 02.17.07

American Gun
11 p.m. :: $3
Art Bar :: 901 Park St.

For all you loyal IndieRocket readers — hi, Mom! — not in Columbia or for those of you who just don't know, American Gun is the Soda City's a-one indiecana act. It's also something of a supergroup, featuring current and former members of Loch Ness Johnny, Boxing Day, Petrillo Relents and The Kerouacs. The Gun's blend of rootsy, stompin' tear-in-my-beer country, swampy Americana and bluesy indie rock recall alt-country purveyors The Bottle Rockets, Uncle Tupelo graced with the lyrical forbearance of Jerry Jeff Walker. Needless to say, it's good stuff, and Todd Mathis and Donald Merckle write some of the most perfect post-Valentine's heartbreak songs this side of the millennium. Grab a beer, shed a tear and rock the fuck out.


tube :: robyn — "konnichiwa, bitches"

Technicolor, bitches! While my dear friend Tug is a little more in tune with the dancier side of life than I am, I must admit my absolute inability to resist shaking my pasty, lily-white ass to this since discovering this on Pitchfork and Idolator yesterday. From what I can gather — as I must admit I've never really listened to Robyn before — that most of the Swedish ingenue's career has been geared toward sunny Swedish R&B pop. But this Missy Elliott-like turn (both in the song and in the video) is downright fantastic, down to the Peaches-esque braggadocio and the Sesame Street beat. It also doesn't hurt that "Konnichiwa, Bitches" contains some of the sharpest one-liners I've ever heard. The IndieRocket consensus best: "Count you out just like a mathematician."

Watch, enjoy, and thank me later.


Tube :: Grizzly Bear :: The Knife

Lots of folks have posted this new video for my favorite song off my favorite album of last year. It is somehow a complete surprise and exactly what I expected at the same time. I figured there would be vague sexual imagery, but I had no idea about the rock/crystal/person thing. It's a strange and beautiful ride.

Bonus! The first big blog-trotting video for 'The Knife' - acapella-style!

Get Out! :: Arrah and the Ferns + Brave Horatius@ The Art Garage :: 2.13.07

I’ve always wanted to write about a band from Muncie, Ind. Now, not only do I get to write 'Muncie,' I also get to say 'that cute, banjolin-playing folk-pop outfit from Muncie, Ind., Arrah and the Ferns!' Promoting their 2006 release Evan Is A Vegan, Arrah and the Ferns bring their precocious pop to the Art Garage tomorrow. With clanging keyboards, vociferous guitars and lyrics about MySpace girls, vegans and emo kids (you know, the stuff the kids are talking about these days), they are quite the whimsical wonder. Singer Arrah has a quirky kind of voice that lies somewhere between Joanna Newsom and Harriet Wheeler (from The Sundays), but with a decidedly cheerier disposition.

Check out their website and myspace and for the love of Pete buy their music.

Arrah and the Ferns Problems

Opening for Arrah et al. is IndieRocket familiar Brave Horatius (ie our pal Jordan) - one of the lovely souls responsible for this gem. Whether it will be a solo affair or more of a group thing has yet to be determined, but it will definitely be some musical goodness. (Ed.'s Note: It'll be a solo deal. -p.) But, as that guy from Star Trek said, you don't have to take my word for it... Download this song and check out 'Astro Zombies' on Brave Horatius' myspace.

Brave Horatius Judy Was A Vampire
(Ed.'s note: Full disclosure — I played guitar and wrote/sang the second chorus of "Judy." -p.)


Musings :: Cult of Failure

Courtesy of Cat and Girl, the smartest surmise of modern indie rock I've ever seen. (Clicky for biggie.)


New Noise :: Alaska The Tiger :: Hater Lover Fucker

Since Pat is the poster boy for modesty (and a few underwear campaigns as well), I'm going to have to post about this new track by Pat's band Alaska The Tiger. I've always been a fan of spoken word rock pieces. Well, really good ones at least. Kurt Vonnegut and William S. Burroughs mostly. There's something about their straightforward, nearly-monotonous delivery that sounds great with rock music in the background. Not to mention their ability to so perfectly describe a character or situation in the simplest and fewest of words. And 'Hater Lover Fucker' does both those things immaculately while also having some of the best post-rock (with a dollop of shoegaze) you can ask for. The idyllic bassline and the guitars percolating in reverb create this elysian sound that Boris would be proud of (and you know how Pat and I feel about the Boris). Oh, and Pat's drums don't sound half bad either. According to my iTunes, I've listened to this song 15 times since I downloaded it earlier this morning. It's that good. And now you can, too!

Alaska The Tiger Hater Lover Fucker


New Noise :: Ratatat :: The Mule

I'm not sure of my fellow IndieRocketeers' stance on Ratatat (although I have a pretty good feeling of what it might be). As for myself, I know that I enjoy the muffins out of them, and while a couple others beat me to it, I'm pretty excited about the Brooklyn boys' upcoming remix album. Ratatat's remix work always seems to be slightly more concentrated on hooks than some of their typical album fair, and this song in particular has a great guitar lick and extremely hook-able bass line. Not to mention that the lyrics are enough to make this blogger blush.

Z-ro, Devin the Dude, and Juvenile - The Mule (Ratatat remix)


Tube :: Final Fantasy :: This Lamb Sells Condos

Driving back to South Carolina from Tennessee with four guys probably isn't the best place to listen to Final Fantasy's He Poos Clouds. It's not nearly as relaxing in places as you would think it would be, so it was chucked fairly quickly. We all just wanted something to chill out with (which Midlake then provided perfectly). While Owen Pallet's song cycle about schools of magic in Dungeons and Dragons wasn't the best road trip music, it makes for some great music video material as evidenced by this charming video for 'This Lamb Sells Condos,' a song about a less-than-charming real estate broker and one of the best tracks from Clouds. The video has everything. Puppets. Slide projectors. And no cuts.