A busy schedule has kept me from my music video watching lately, but I'm just starting to catch up now. The first video to really catch my eye is the new offering from Menomena. I'm really worried that since their amazing record Friend and Foe came out in January, it'll get skipped over on most critics end-of-the-year lists, where it most certainly deserves a spot. But hopefully this new video will remind everyone just how great Menomena are. The video documents a cafeteria food fight, and while it doesn't sound like it, it's definitely one of the most beautiful videos in recent memory and a definite contender for best video of the year (right behind that Battles video for 'Atlas'). Enjoy!
Bonus! Here's more food fight goodness for you!
This has probably already been on every blog imaginable, but it's too good not to post. Zach Galifianakis has struck again, good children! Head here to check out his new video in which he lip synchs to Kanye West's 'Can't Tell Me Nothing.' And he's brought along special guest Will Oldham (aka Bonnie 'Prince' Billy)! It's pretty hipsteriffic. There are tractors, cows, fields, clogging, and chainsaws. And as an added bonus, here are two other Galifianakis synching videos. They have both brought me lots of joy, and I hope they do the same for you.
Since their move to Merge with 2001’s Girls Can Tell, Spoon has been pushing at their own boundaries like a painter who’s created a beautiful portrait but can’t help adding just one more brushstroke every time he passes the canvas, slightly changing the image without tarnishing its appeal. The Austin band’s sixth album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is perhaps the most successful of these attempts even though on a first listen, one prays for a return to the hooks of Gimme Fiction’s 'I Turn My Camera On' or even the recondite lyricism of 'The Beast and Dragon, Adored.' However, this album is the definition of a grower; the blue-eyed soul and roguish hooks sneaking up behind you when you least expect it.
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga manages to perfectly encapsulate exactly what Britt Daniel and Co. are all about as well. On the Jon Brion-produced pop gem 'The Underdog', horns blast over jangly acoustic guitar as Daniel kicks against the pricks, crooning, 'You got no fear of the underdog/ That’s why you will not survive.' Their compassion for the middle man striving against the comforting pressure to just be mediocre is again revisited on 'Finer Feelings' where Daniel sings, 'Sometimes I think that I'll find a love/ One that's gonna change my heart/ And I'll find it in Commercial Appeal/ And then this heartache'll get chased away.' Here, the liberal Memphis paper’s name holds an interesting if not immediately obvious double meaning, right before the song drops out and is replaced with untraceable crowd noise and filtered talkback.
This album also cements Britt Daniel as one of the finest frontmen in music today. His sleepy Elvis-Costello-by-way-of-Texas drawl creates an alienating yet alluring dynamic that fits the band perfectly.
4.5 of 5
Spoon The Ghost of You Lingers
Spoon Rhthm and Soul (Live)
Buy Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga here.
I swear I'm getting some posts together. I had all these amazing plans for updates every day this week, but flat tires and general life stuff have gotten in the way, so I'm afraid I have to be lazy today and just link you to one of my favorite blogs I Guess I'm Floating where today he posted the second installment in his The Ones That Got Away series, a collection of rare tracks and b-sides from bands currently blowing up the blogosphere. I highly recommend The National and Spoon tracks, but everything there is worth checking out. You should just head down to the bottom and download the zip file (with pretty artwork!).
Two of my favorite local bands have been hard at work in the studio this year and recently posted some of the fruits of their labors. Due East played an amazing show here in town last week with Cory Branan, and then I followed them up to Raleigh to see them open for Cory and American Aquarium. I might post a review of that show later once the pictures get back, but in the meantime, I'll just say that it was well worth the drive. The only disappointment was that I kept forgetting to get a copy of Due East's album from the guys. Luckily for me (and you, gentle reader), they've posted some tracks on their myspace page. Here's a favorite of mine. It perfectly captures the heartbroken smiles Due East tries to invoke with their music. And the line 'Sometimes one and one make none' is a way more astute mathematics-meets-monogamy observation than Ryan Adams' new satellite radio hit 'It Takes Two.' Make sure to check out the other tracks on their MySpace page, and swing by New Brookland Tavern on July 15th to see the guys play and maybe pick up a copy of the new CD.
Due East One and None
Due East on MySpace
The hits keep on coming with Magnetic Flowers and their upcoming album Presents, Pasts, and Futures that you can grab at their CD-release show at The Whig on August 17th. This is a terrific track that showcases some of the great dual (and triple) vocals that these guys can do. And the explosive end to the song is just too much fun. Again, head to their myspace for more goodness.
Magnetic Flowers Widescreen Version
Magnetic Flowers on MySpace
In a fitting bout of kismet, the first time I saw Cory Branan was during my first visit to The Whig. (My first Taco Tuesday, in fact.) Since then, I've become a huge fan of Branan, seeing many shows and finding many live bootlegs. (I've also eaten many 50-cent tacos since then as well.) Branan is, without a doubt, one of the best singer-songwriters in alt-country today; his songs are filled with compelling characters and self-effacing wit and interspersed with some hilarious stage patter. Branan also has the ability to play his songs differently every show, crafting a fascinating dynamism that must be seen to be believed.
And we all know how I feel about Due East. In fact, the day after this show, I'm heading up to Raleigh to see Due East, Cory, and American Aquarium. It should be a blast and a half. But if you can't make it all the way up there, then definitely don't miss your chance to see Cory and Due East at the Whig. And hey, it's a free show, and there's two-dollar pints as well. You can't lose!
Cory Branan on MySpace (Check out some of the live tracks!)
IndieRocket's quick profile on Branan
Due East on MySpace
As much as your indierocketeers hate regurgitating other blogs' content, this was far too funny to pass up. Idolator linked this morning to a United Nations Dispatch article critiquing — and using more than 1,800 words to do so — Megadeth's "United Abominations." There are plenty of choice passages in critic Mark Leon Goldberg's work — we share Idolator's favorite: "At this point, you can hear French spoken in the background. The only thing I could decifer was, "Nous besoin d'ordre mondial," meaning, "We need global order." This apparently upsets Mustaine, because he launches into a monster guitar solo! " — and Goldberg does a fine job of trashing Mustaine's fact errors and lyrical absurdities. (Not to mention Mustaine's apparent belief in and references to pre-millenialist Christian mythology, his apparent confusion of Hamas and Hezbollah and his complete misunderstanding of what the United Nations, you know, does.)
But can Goldberg pull off the solo in "Hangar 18?" Somehow, I doubt it.
Critic Watch: Megadeth Smackdown Edition [UN Dispatch, via Idolator]
Sorry for the NSFW content, but I found that picture too compelling not to post. One of the saddest and least known stories in rock and roll history, Judee Still was a predacessor for Joni Mitchell and Carole King, but besides having this amazing track covered by The Hollies (which was recently featured in Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown), she never received any commerical note. It's one of those songs that I've always wanted to hear the lyrical explanation for, but never found much written about. I certainly have my interpretation, but I'd love to hear others or the actual account of what it's all about. Anyway, enjoy!
allmusic.com is a great resource for writers, bloggers and music junkies alike. But one of its most puzzling sections is its "themes" junket in album reviews, and it's most startling in its vague and often misapplied themes. Case in point: On the page containing Mark Deming's review for Shellac's Excellent Italian Greyhound — which is, in a word, excellent — the themes listed are as follows:
• Party Time
• Hanging Out
Not exactly what comes to mind when you think of Shellac, is it?
Now, allmusic mostly (if not always) makes up for the egregious "themes" with its "moods" meme. (Among Shellac's moods: "Bitter," "Cynical/Sarcastic," "Fiery" (which, confusingly, is listed next to "Restrained"), "Acerbic" and "Volatile.") But how any one of these moods translates into themes of "Party Time" or "Hanging Out" is beyond me.
It makes me wonder if this is an elaborate joked perpetrated by Albini; and, if it isn't, if he sees any humor in it. I'd like to think so.
I've been a longtime fan of I Am The World Trade Center and jumped on stage to dance with Dan Gellar and Amy Dykes at many a show when I was in college. So I had to check out Dan's new project with Mark Mallman and drummer Aaron Lemay, who according to their website is a 'tatttooed punk/prog rocker with a distain for electronic music.' (Guess which one in the picture is him.) Ruby Isle is dance-inducing electronic glam that sounds something like Vivek Shraya meets Gellar's fellow Athenites Of Montreal. I can't wait to spin 'Atom Bombs' at a club - it's quickly become one of my favorite dance tracks of the year, and that's in a year chock full of the stuff. And their cover of Sonic Youth's 'Teenage Riot' must be heard to be believed. I will definitely be doing my darnedest to catch them live as they tour around this summer. Click the link below to get your booty shakin', and maybe I'll see you at that last show in Athens...
Ruby Isle on MySpace
11 Jul 2007 Drunken Unicorn - MJQ Atlanta
12 Jul 2007 The 5 spot Nashville, Tennessee
13 Jul 2007 Abbey Pub Chicago
14 Jul 2007 Mad Planet Milwaukee, Wisconsin
15 Jul 2007 Barbette - Bastille Day Minneapolis, Minnesota
18 Aug 2007 Caledonia Lounge Athens, Georgia
Oh, and check out Gellar's newly relaunched Kindercore Records. It's the jam.
Spoon released the video for the first single off their new album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, due out next Tuesday (07/10/07) on Merge. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga has been a permanent fixture in my car stereo since I first got it. And the Martin Scorsese-aping by director Keven McAlester in this video perfectly matches the fun, light-percussion of this Jon Brion-produced track. And there's plenty of Austinites making an appearance as well. Check it out and love it.
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Get Out! is indierocket!'s occasional guide to goings-on in the Soda City.
Ken Vandermark/Tim Daisy :: USC School of Music Recital Hall :: 7:30 p.m.
Vandermark and Daisy perform as an improvisational reeds-and-drum duo, and their performances have been lauded for being a good balance of the raw and the refined. The duo does something wholly remarkable in the world of avant-jazz, carving out a sonic niche that’s visceral and lyrical at the same time, totally innovative, but always with a purpose. The result is about as accessible as improvisational free jazz can get. It will meander from funk to drone to hard bop and back again, but the eclectic and dynamic musicianship keeps the performance enthralling. Yes, avant-garde jazz is notoriously and archetypically difficult music, but remember that the journey is more important than the destination. Damage: $5.
Perelandra!, Magnetic Flowers, Brother Sister, Falling Off a Building, Lucia Lie :: New Brookland Tavern :: 7 p.m.
So avant-garde jazz isn't your thing. That's cool. There's plenty of rock to be had at the Tavern, including the return of A.D.D.-addled indie rockers Perelandra!, whose stop-start dynamics and indie-prog structures recall Roadside Monument, Drive Like Jehu and Fugazi. Mike and Beth Pope of Perelandra! also play in Brother Sister, quite possible Columbia's most underrated indie-pop troupe. (indierocket! familiar Jordan Blackmon — you'll recognize him from No Way Jose!, Alaska the Tiger and Brave Horatius — also plays in Brother Sister.) Falling Off a Building, we've told you, is simple, smart, emotive indie pop for the thinking man. Magnetic Flowers, as Tug so eloquently put it, "are open-mindedly bolstering their Iron & Wine meets Neutral Milk Hotel sound with new approaches to percussion." Lucia Lie are from New York. Damage: $5 ($7 under 21).
Dear Billy Corgan,
The Dismemberment Plan already made this video. It was for "Time Bomb."
Honestly, I'm not quite sure how I feel about "Tarantula" yet. I will not — and can not — deny that the Pumpkins were (are) one of my all-time favorite bands, but I can't deny that Billy really started losing it around Mellon Collie. At its best, "Tarantula" sounds as though it could've been right at home on the Mellon Collie odds-n-sods collection The Aeroplane Flies High, particularly on the Zero b-sides collection. At its worst, it's regurgitated Machina material (minus the drop-C tunings).
But it's important to see what "Tarantula" is moreso than to recognize what it isn't. Obviously, "Tarantula" isn't "Geek USA" — though it does share similar guitar tones and a similar (if baser and considerably shorter) structure. It isn't "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" or "Zero" — though it does attempt to ape those songs' grandiosity. It isn't "The Everlasting Gaze" — though it does share its simple, driving insistence. What "Tarantula" is is a cross between "Bodies" and "Quiet" — a simple, driving guitar-rock anthem that attempts to unify every one of the Pumpkins' records — the flashy, Stratocaster-heavy guitar heroics of Gish and Siamese Dream; the bored, suburban angst of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness; and the pop-metal hooks of Machina. What "Tarantula" is is a four-minute crash-course in Pumpkins history.
But "Tarantula," for all its historical aspirations, doesn't have a quality hook. Its lyrics are trite. Its chorus is completely unremarkable. In fact, the song as a whole is almost completely forgettable. It's repetitive power-chord drek punctuated by off-kilter, angry-hornet's-nest solos. It sounds like what a Smashing Pumpkins cover band would produce if it were to start writing original tunes. It's a Zwan song. It's Mary, Star of the Sea. It's "Walking Shade."
It is a pale imitation of the band that provided a bulk of the soundtrack to my teenage years. But therein lies the rub, and therein lies the question: Is anything as good as you remember it? Is it really better to burn out than to fade away?
It makes me wonder if this post-millennial Pumpkins would have happened without the post-millennial Pixies reunion.
Still, I'm torn: If "Tarantula," as I've posited, embodies the best and the worst of the Pumpkins, which should be focused on? Does Billy Corgan get a pass due to past performance? Ultimately, I don't think we can let him weasel out of this one, reunion or no — it's still a bloated Machina b-side. And the sad fact is that might be all the newfangled Pumpkins will ever be.
And yet, for all its faults, "Tarantula" is still better than nine-tenths of the shit on modern rock radio. And I can't say that it's terrible — it isn't. It's just that it isn't, you know, good. And that's what I'd come to expect from Billy Corgan. And there'll always be that part of me that absolutely, fanatically loves the Smashing Pumpkins. And that really, really wants to love "Tarantula."
At least I'll always have Siamese Dream.
I'm going to try and hit the movie theater later to see Live Free or Die Hard. What can I say? I love it when things explode, and people get punched through dry wall. I felt like I needed a refresher course on John McClane, though, so I checked out this viral video from a while back by gimmick group Guyz Nite, and it turns out that they've added a new fourth verse about Live Free or Die Hard! This is worth watching even if you're not a Die Hard fan simply because of some pretty great video editing. Yippee-ki-yay, motherfuckers.
Posted by tug at 3:40 PM