Get Out! :: The International Grapevine, Brave Horatius, Brightford @ The Whig :: 05.30.07

The Whig continues its emergence as not only one of the best bars in Columbia but also one of the best music venues as it brings a stellar folk-rock lineup that includes The International Grapevine, an incredible outfit that sounds like a combination of Neutral Milk Hotel and Pavement on quaaludes with just a pinch of psychedelia. Brave Horatius (we've talked about him before) will be playing some of the best-written songs you’ll hear in town, including some from his sure-to-be-wonderful upcoming album. And let’s not forget the lovely Brightford, whose voice — reminiscent of a more soulful Imogen Heap but without all the electric filtering nonsense — definitely needs to be heard in this town more often. It's a free show, and draft beers are only $2 tonight, so it's officially the most bang for your buck you'll find all week. Listen to all these great acts at their myspace pages:
The International Grapevine

Brave Horatius



Get Out! :: iTug at iPop! @ Art Bar :: 05.25.07

So one of the reasons why I haven't posted in a while is that all my spare time has been taken up with getting a playlist of incredible indie dance music together for everyone to get down to tonight at Art Bar. (OK, lots of my spare time has been going to watching two-hour season finales as well. Veronica Mars, you will be missed!) So check out the flyer and head on over to Art Bar tonight so that we can shake our socks right down to our shoes!


Scene :: American Aquarium :: New Brookland Tavern [Columbia, S.C.; 05.16.07]

One of my favorites up-and-comers in the alt. country crowd, here's what I had to say about American Aquarium in the Free Times prior to their show:

No stranger to the New Brookland stage, Raleigh’s American Aquarium return to bring us some songs that go well with a drink. With the intensity of a young Paul Westerberg, singer B.J. Barham drawls and yells through rocking alt-country tunes about girls, God and getting drunk. While these aren’t new subjects, the approach is fresh, burning with vitriol, whiskey and the urgency of youth. With Son Volt and Wilco making music that appeals to my parents more than it does me, American Aquarium are the meek who shall inherit the alt-country earth. Miss this show at your own peril.
Well, apparently, no one listened to my warning, but you wouldn't know it by the great show that these guys put on Wednesday night.

The evening started off with a nice surprise when I showed up and saw local group Due East setting up on stage. They had just gotten added to the bill the night before, and I was convinced more than ever that they are one of the most promising acts in Columbia right now. And being the class-act guys that they are, they stuck around when most of their friends had gone just to see American Aquarium play. It's the plight of the touring indie band - the opening band brings all their friends, but their friends don't stick around to see the headliner. American Aquarium handled it perfectly, though. They tore through their set, laying it all on the altar for whoever was listening. By the second song, a rip-roaring rendition of 'Telling A Lie,' they had a small group down front (including myself) in the palm of their hands.

I've seen BJ and Co. live a few times now, and I don't know if the ever-entertaining BJ just had a few extra shots of whiskey or what, but he was especially entertaining - stomping and dancing through the fast ones and some of the slow ones too. One of my favorite moments came during a beer break for the band when BJ was playing by himself. It was a song I don't think I've ever heard them play before, and I stupidly forgot to ask what it was. It was a song about, as BJ put it, 'when a girl leaves you for a guy fifteen years older than you, and that's really messed up 'cause she's already five years younger than you' (paraphrasing here, but close). When he hit the line, 'You fuck like a woman, but you love like a little girl,' his voice was full of such venom that everyone burst out in a collective 'Hell, yeah!' type of yell.

They closed with a song from their upcoming album, a boisterous number that reminded me of a Buddy Holly song done by Uncle Tupelo. It was fairly incredible and a good indication of how amazing their new album is going to be when it hits. Oh, and did I forget to mention that two of the band members were playing with the band for the second time last night? And they both wailed like they had been doing it for years. They are definitely one of the nicest and hardest-working bands I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. Check out their myspace page and go see them in a town near you. I would go to the show Monday night in Charlotte myself, but I'm stuck in Columbia tending bar. Guess I'll just have to have a whiskey in their honor.

American Aquarium Lover Too Late (Live)

Due East Dream of Two

Photos by J. Sharpe.


New Noise :: Spoon :: The Ghost of You Lingers

Well, here it is, the second track from Spoon's upcoming Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, slated for release July 10th. I find it immediately engaging and beautiful, but some people might need a couple listens. Britt Daniel's vocals reminds me of the David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti-written dream pop of Julee Cruise that appeared in one of my favorite television shows Twin Peaks. Of course, with the staccato piano constantly pounding flatly, the song itself doesn't carry the dreamy quality, making it seem more disturbing and urgent - like a nightmare that you're trying to wake from, but dammit, you want to see what's behind that door. It's absolutely amazing, and while it's a bit early to say for sure, between this and another track that will appear on the new album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga could be a contender for one the best albums of the year. I'm going to shut up, and let you listen for yourself now.

Spoon The Ghost of You Lingers


Get Out! :: Evil Empire + The Cogburns + Magnetic Flowers @ Art Bar :: 5.12.07

So you didn't get to see the reunited Rage Against The Machine headline Coachella. Or maybe you're just glad that new RATM means no more Audioslave. Either way, you'll want to check out RATM tributeers Evil Empire, comprised of former local rockers Mean Wiener and vocalist Angel Lopez, as they bring some civil disobedience to the Art Bar this Saturday. Also playing are Atlanta's skinny-tie-wearing garage rockers The Cogburns (picture above) who put on the most fun show this side of The Woggles. Finalizing this as one of the most random gatherings of bands in recent memory, indie rock-meets-country outfit Magnetic Flowers - one of Columbia's most promising bands - opens. See you there.

Magnetic Flowers - When Night Comes


New Noise :: Electrelane - "To the East"

I'm quite the sucker for all-girl groups. So I have a particular fondness for Brighton's Electrelane, whom I've adored upon discovering them via 2005's Axes, itself a perfect post-rock experiment in tension and dynamics. Whereas Axes, though, was a beast of a more experimental nature — allmusic.com's Heather Phares sums it up pretty well, describing Axes's tunes as "keyboard-driven, largely instrumental tracks that often sound like a chamber music group playing forgotten Sonic Youth compositions." — the quartet's new disc, No Shouts, No Calls finds them returning to the blissful, ambient post-pop that earmarked their fantastic sophomore record, 2004's The Power Out.

There are flourishes of the familiar in "To the East," the lead track from No Shouts, No Calls. Easily, one of Electrelane's most obvious reference points is Stereolab, and both share a certain penchant for wobbly-yet-charming Krautrock-cum-British art-rock. The opening bass-and-drumline rumbles with the deft assertiveness of a later-day Pixies track before things kick into double-time, upon which images of modern Mergers such as Spoon (for its simple, pleading insistence) and The Rosebuds (for vocalist Verity Susman's female version of Ivan Howard's heartbreaking croon — and dig that organ!) are conjured. The guitar gets turned up to eleven in the chorus (which doubles as the coda), but remains nimble and subtly athletic in Mia Clarke's interplay with drummer Emma Gaze — hands down Electrelane's secret weapon for her steady-yet-complex backbeats. Susman's sweet voice drips sugary sincerity in a Win Butleresque way, and she delivers with a downtrodden deadpan that meshes perfectly with the music.

It's no "Eight Steps," but as we've said, No Shouts, No Calls is much more The Power Out than Axes. If you're intrigued by a song that can be described as "The Ronettes hopped up on a molotov cocktail of super steroids and horse tranqulizers," then Electrelane is for you.

Electrelane - "To the East"
Electrelane on MySpace

Bonus!: The video for "To the East"! No Shouts, No Calls is out now on Too Pure; buy it here.


Tube :: Kelly Clarkson :: Never Again

Sorry for the delay in posts, folks. Life has been superextracrazybusy. Hopefully next week will be a little more relaxed, and we can do some quality posts. For right now, check out the video for Kelly Clarkson's new single 'Never Again.' I know, I know... Not very indie, but c'mon, the girl has pipes, and Mike Watt (pictured above) did some work on the album. It's unclear whether or not he had anything to do with this song, but regardless, I really like the damn thing.

Bonus! A drunk Kelly Clarkson doing 'Sweet Child of Mine' with Metal Skool and that douchebag from Yellowcard.