August 01, 2005

Idlewild - Warnings/Promises

After the huge success of Warnings/Promises following its March release in the UK, Idlewild have decided to take the United States for a spin. Though the rock five-piece are Scottish born and bred, Americans should have no trouble embracing them.

In fact, they take much of their inspiration from classic American rock artists, and recorded the album with producer Tony Hoffer (Air, Beck, The Thrills) at Sunset Sound studios in Los Angeles. Idlewild's frontman Roddy Womble told Under the Radar in the summer of 2004, "A lot of groups come from Los Angeles that I really like, specifically a lot of what we were listening to at the time we were writing songs," and he cited Crosby Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and The Byrds. While the album does not sound like any of the aforementioned groups, it inadvertently captures the spirit of California.

On their fifth studio album, Idlewild have a different lineup and a more mature sound. They have stopped listening to record executives trying to turn them into the next Coldplay or Radiohead, and have begun to pave a path all their own. However, this road has not been easy. Womble explained in 2004, "There's a lot of people [in America] that really love the band, but our record isn't promoted properly, so it doesn't sell that many copies and there's not any money put in it." The August release by Capitol shows that the record label is finally shining a light on Idlewild.

"Love Steals Us From Loneliness" is immediately gripping, with its heavy intro and sarcastic Smiths-like lyrical tone. It could easily be the next anthem of urban, angst-ridden teens everywhere. "Welcome Home" shows a softer side, and follows a traditional sing-song structure of light intro, guitar breakdown, and harmonic end. They alternate between vocal harmony and arena rock guitar, demonstrating versatility and comfort with varying structures. "I Understand It" and "As If I Hadn't Slept" both combine pop sensibilities with alternative tradition, making for light and sunny, yet reflective compositions. Idlewild's roots in punk rock are still apparent, despite their contemporary fold tendencies. For those who crave the pure wailing of electric guitars, look no further than "Too Long Awake."

As with many big-label albums, Warnings/Promises feels a little overproduced, however, this could be a result of listening to too many K Records releases. On the other hand, the raw sound of Idlewild's roots overpowers any studio addition of strings and harmonies, solidifying the album's longevity.

Warnings/Promises takes a slow hold on your subconscious, until you find yourself mumbling "love shields us from loneliness" while you're buying your morning coffee. "It's kind of one of those records that's like the more you hear it, the more you like it," Womble said. Frankly, I wouldn't want it any other way.

Click here to buy Warnings/Promises, due out on August 16 on Capitol Records

Related articles:
Idlewild to Tour US

July 30, 2005

Goldspot - Tally of the Yes Men

In the rock industry, more emphasis is often placed on the quirkiness of the singer's voice, rather than its quality. This is just one reason why L.A.'s Goldspot is a breath of fresh air. Singer Siddhartha's honey-coated tenor is as diverse as it is piercing, changing from a folky strength reminiscent of Paul Simon, to a more filtered echo in the tradition of flower child Sean Lennon, to the same incredible heights of Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, and the vocals alone would be enough to make this album stand out. However, laid over some of the catchiest pop rock since the Strokes, played by drummer Ramy Antoun, bassist Sergio Andrade, and guitarists Derek Horst and Seth McLain, Tally of the Yes Men absolutely shines.

The farcical title of the album, inspired by Siddartha's time working in a confining cubicle in an office job, only hints at the depth beneath it. Opening track "Rewind," has been in regular rotation on KCRW DJ Nic Harcourt's show Morning Becomes Eclectic, and with good reason. It's hook-laden and xylophone-laced melody takes its cues from the best of classic New Order and the modern garage rock of the Strokes. "Friday" is Siddhartha's vocal triumph, his powerful quivering vocals building to a layered crescendo, complete with violins. "The Guard" moves toward the psychedelic tradition of the Beatles and the Flaming Lips, mixing electronic methods with a decidedly 60's sound. "It's Getting Old" would make Julian Casablancas envious, characterized by an absolutely addictive retro riff, killer drums, and Morrissey-like poignant lyrics: "It's an excuse isn't it/to be the tragic one/strung out on Paxil pills." I dare you to try to follow Saddhartha's advice to " . . . maybe try and sit this one out." More likely, you'll be dancing to this one until the wee hours of the morning.

While nearly every track is strong enough to stand alone, the album as a whole is somewhat inconsistent. The momentum of the first half is broken up by the ironically slow ballad "So Fast," on which Goldspot abandon drums and amps for an acoustic guitar. While it is beautifully sentimental, it seems out of place between the alternative strumming of "Program of the Year" and the loud, climactic "The Assistant." On "Motorcade," Goldspot find a happy middle ground between classical piano and rock guitar and drums, and it is one of the standout tracks on the album for its emotional energy. "In the Post" is a somber end to a largely upbeat album, but relaxation is welcome after such boundless displays of emotional intensity.

Click here to listen to tracks from the album
Click here to pre-order Tally of the Yes Men, to be released Aug. 23 on Union Records

Interpol World Tour

Interpol will be touring the world this summer from Japan to Mexico, spreading their new-wave punk-infused sound like a band of rock missionaries. Go to Interpol's official website for presale and general sale ticket links.

AUGUST
Tuesday 02 Auckland, NZ St. James Theatre
Wednesday 03 Wellington, NZ Victoria University
Saturday 13 Tokyo, JP Summersonic Festival

SEPTEMBER
Monday 05 Mexico City, MX World Trade Center
Tuesday 06 Mexico City , MX World Trade Center
Wednesday 07 Guadalajara, MX Foro Alterna
Saturday 10 Kansas City, KS Uptown Theatre
Sunday 11 Denver, CO Fillmore Auditorium
Monday 12 Salt Lake City, UT Kingsbury Hall
Wednesday 14 Davis, CA Freeborn Hall
Thursday 15 San Jose, CA San Jose Civic Auditorium
Saturday 17 Peoria, AZ Peoria Sports Complex
Sunday 18 San Diego, CA SDSU Open Air Arena
Monday 19 Las Vegas, NV The Joint
Tuesday 20 Los Angeles, CA The Greek Theatre
Friday 23 Tulsa, OK Cain's Ballroom
Saturday 24 Champaign, IL Assembly Hall
Sunday 25 Ann Arbor, MI Michigan Theater
Monday 26 Cleveland, OH Agora Theatre
Wednesday 28 Toronto, ON Kool Haus
Thursday 29 Montreal, QC Metropolis
Friday 30 Portland, ME State Theatre

Click here to buy the 5-track enhanced Evil single (May 3, 2005)
Click here to buy the Evil Pt. 1 single (Jan. 4, 2005)
Click here to buy the Evil Pt. 2 single
Click here to buy Antics (Sept. 28, 2004)

July 29, 2005

Review: Thievery Corporation @ 9:30 Club 7/28

In order to see one of the most diverse groups of people gathered in one place, you only need go to a Thievery Corporation concert. All ages, ethnicities, and types of music fans gathered together at the first of three sold-out shows at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC.

The queue began at about 6:30, though the doors did not open until one hour later. However, waiting was entertaining enough, since a camera crew hired by Thievery was interviewing the DJs and their singers, as well as the waiting fans, including yours truly, for a possible DVD release some time in the future. They asked people if they had seen Thievery live before, how they would define their music, the craziest things they had seen at a show (bar people smoking a certain illegal substance), etc.

At 10:30, following another 3-hour wait with no opening act, Eric Hilton, Rob Garza and company made a triumphant return to their hometown stage, seeming at ease with the adoring crowd. In fact, they seemed a little too at ease, if you know what I mean.

I was curious to see how the DJs would fill in for the megastars who sang for tracks on The Cosmic Game, such as Perry Ferrell and Wayne Coyne. Punjabi singer Gunjan actually performed the songs she sang on the album, and stole the show with her soprano, otherworldly vocals. As always, the show featured longtime French singer Loulou and the Jamaican rastafarians known as See-I, who always know how to work the crowd into a frenzy. While Emiliana Torrini was not performing, a young Brazilian singer, Princess Carina, was her equal in style and stage presence, and her sensual performance of "Exilio (Exile)" beckoned the crowd to join her in singing "A la la la le, lo le lo le, lo le lo la la la." The only regrettable vocal performance was that of Sista Pat, who substituted for Perry Ferrell on "Revolution Solution." While her soulful style worked for "Wires and Watchtowers," it sounded much too choppy and gospel-like for an otherwise trippy song. Of course, not many could outdo Ferrell for trippy.

The climax of the show was the vision of a completely packed house drunk on the hypnotic beat and frenetic rapping of "Warning Shots," waving their hands back at the Jamaican duo and screaming "One, and it comes the two to the three!" over and over again. The memory alone is enough to draw goosebumps.

Eric and Rob mentioned that they were nervous about the homecoming, but by the end of the show the performer/audience barrier had been blurred into oblivion, when the audience overtook the stage to dance to "Coming from the Top." By the end of the show, everyone in the audience felt like they were coming home.

Setlist:
I recorded much of the show digitally, and then the 930 Club staff confiscated my recorder and deleted it, so if anyone could help me out by emailing me the remainder of the setlist, I would be grateful. Fortunately, I wrote down most of the songs . . .

The Cosmic Gate
???
???
Satyam Shivam Sundaram (feat. Gunjan)
???
???
38.45
Illumination
Revolution Solution
Wires and Watchtowers (feat. Sista Pat)
Exilio (Exile)
The Heart's a Lonely Hunter
Focus on Sight
???
State of the Union
???
Warning Shots
The Time We Lost Our Way

Encore #1
Richest Man in Babylon
Coming from the Top

Encore #2
Marching the Hate Machines (Into the Sun)

Related articles:
Thievery Corporation July 4 BBC Session
Thievery Corporation Sold Out, Second Date Added
Thievery Corporation 9:30 Club Presale
Thievery Corporation - The Cosmic Game

July 26, 2005

Idlewild to Tour US

In support of their forthcoming fifth album, Warnings/Promises, to be released on Aug. 16, Scottish rockers Idlewild will be touring the United States. The tour showcases a new lineup, including bassist Gavin Fox and longtime touring guitarist Allan Stewart, but expect the same ambitious rock sound. Preliminary dates are as follows, and they will be confirming more dates soon:

9/6 Boston, MA Paradise
9/7 New York, NY Irving Plaza
9/9 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts
9/10 Baltimore, MD 8x10
9/11 Washington, DC Black Cat
9/14 Atlanta, GA Smith's Olde Bar
9/15 New Orleans, LA Twiropa
9/16 Houston, TX Fat Cat's
9/17 Austin, TX The Parish
9/19 Dallas, TX Trees
9/24 Lawrence, KS Bottleneck
9/27 Denver, CO Hi-Dive
9/28 Salt Lake City, UT Shaggy's Velvet Room
9/30 Seattle, WA Neumo's
10/5 San Francisco, CA Slim's
10/7 Los Angeles, CA El Rey
10/8 San Diego, CA Casbah

July 25, 2005

Frank Black Goes Nashville with Honeycomb

Honeycomb, Frank Black's first solo album since 1996's The Cult of Ray, takes any preconceived notions of the legendary Pixies founder's indie and punk leanings, and turns them upside down. Black has gone the way of Dylan on Blonde on Blonde, seamlessly blending his native rock with blues, soul, folk and country.

The album flows like honey as the title suggests, though it includes a diverse, genre-bending group of tracks, ranging from modern alt-country flair to 50's rock with a cover of "Song of the Shrimp," originally performed by Elvis in the film Girls, Girls, Girls. Black's soulful gritty voice is at home laid over twangy guitars, and seems as though it always belonged there. "I Burn Today" is a honkeytonk jazz celebration, echoing with its lyrics the sentiments evoked by the music: "hold my heartstrings and have yourself a strum." The title track, "Honeycomb," is a stellar combination of near-falsetto vocals, light steel guitar picking, and soft piano.

Black recorded Honeycomb over a four-day period in Nashville, Tenn., with some of the most talented players in music, among them Steve Cropper, Buddy Miller, Reggie Young, and Spooner Oldham. Although the recording session was short, this album has been in the works for years, ever since Black heard Dylan's revolutionary 1966 album. "It just stuck with me, and for years," said Black, "I always wanted to do my own sort of version, Black on Blonde." And like Dylan, he has done no less than revolutionize folk and country music with his quiet, cathartic artistry. Frankly, it is enough to bring a country music cynic back to the wonder that is Nashville.

Click here to buy Honeycomb.

Cartel w/ Driving in Silence @ Club Five 7/22

Club Five's new venture into rock music, under the direction of promoter Kyle Star, is so far showing a lot of promise. For Friday night's show, the club welcomed Driving in Silence, Cartel, and The Upwelling, three talented, burgeoning rock acts with very different styles.

Driving in Silence played an acoustic show as a duo, since they have been experiencing problems with their drummer, yet the performance was made all the more emotional and powerful for the lack of background noise. Their songs were stripped down to the barest essentials, and as a result, they reached the emotional core. Archie's vocals in the last song were beautifully reminiscent of the Counting Crows' 1993 track, "Raining in Baltimore," but taken to new heights with an emo edge.

Cartel took the stage next, starting with "Fleets (MP3)," an atmospheric endeavor that begins with Doves-like pounding drums and the soft drawn-out vocals of Brian Leatherman and builds to a climax of ethereal guitar riffs. Their style is attributable to bands like Elbow, Placebo, The Cure, and New Order, an unusual group of influences for a band from Washington, DC. Brian shared vocal duties with keyboardist/guitarist Luke Mangels, whose voice gave off a deeper, choppier sound, taking the music in the retro direction of Robert Smith.

They played a few of the 5 songs released on their self-released Safety in Numbers EP, and a few new unreleased songs, including the uplifting culmination, "Safe From Harm." According to Brian, the band is writing new songs all of the time. "We're all perfectionists. We're never satisfied with what we have," he said after the show. They have certainly perfected the material they have released so far, and are being closely watched by promoters and labels from here to London.

I did not see The Upwelling perform, as I was interviewing Ed and Brian of Cartel. Read the interview here.

Interview: Cartel

Cartel, a relatively new Washington, DC five-piece, are humble yet ambitious, just what a band needs to be to make it big. And that is just what they are set to do. Ed Barnabas (drums), Mark Hemingway (guitar), Francisco Lazzaro (bass guitar), Luke Mangels (guitar, keys, vocals), and Brian Leatherman (vocals, guitar) stand out from most other DC musicians, as their sound is as far as you can get from Fugazi. Cartel is about dreamy landscapes, and melodic and layered compositions, driven by uplifting riffs and bittersweet vocals. Brian and Ed took time out after their show at Club Five to speak with me about the band's past, present and bright future.

I know you all have day jobs. Do you ever feel weird about having white collars jobs and then playing in a band at night?

Brian: I guess one thing that's kind of weird for me is when people from my work come to shows . . .

Ed: You kind of feel like you're running in two worlds, you know. Like, you have your closet, and half is your work clothes and half is your "going out" clothes. It's a little strange . . . we're getting to that point where we're going to have to start touring more. Up until this point we weren't playing a lot of concerts, and having a 9-to-5 works because it's more money than waiting tables or something and you have your evenings free and your weekends free. But it starts to become a problem. I mean, now you see why a lot of musicians have odd jobs, because now that we're going to start doing a lot of shows, its harder to get away from work. We're all trying to take it one day at a time, and make sure we don't lose our jobs or anything. But it is a little tough now because we're getting a little bit . . . I don't know the word . . .

Brian: More buzzed about.

I understand from what I've read that the band found you, Brian, through a want ad for a singer. Is that right?

B: Yeah, it was actually a Craig's List ad. I had been looking to do something, and musically I'd been playing for about seven years before I . . uh . . Oh my God, look at that rat.

[Look over and see the one of the biggest rats I've ever seen] Oh my God. That's huge!

B: Sorry about that [laughing]. I'd been playing guitar for about seven years before and I'd been looking for something more in DC rather than just playing on acoustic guitar and stuff. I came across his Craig's List ad and he listed all the references that I was into at the time . . . Doves, Elbow, Interpol. So I called them up. I wasn't actually a singer, which I found out [laughs] during rehearsals.

Why do you think you weren't a singer?

B: Well, I'd never really explored how to sing. I'd never even really ventured into singing, or thinking about singing, but they were looking for a singer and we had the right references. So I went for rehearsal and played guitar and didn't sing, 'cause I was hung over and I think . . .

E: I think that was it.

That probably helped you, actually.

B: Yeah, it worked in my favor. I really didn't feel like singing that first night.

So you had mutual influences? What kind of bands did all of you listen to?

E: I think the influence thing was the biggest reason we all found each other. The only people who knew each other were me and Luke, the keyboardist/guitar player, and we just wanted to start a band. We thought it would be hard to find . . . I mean, some of our influences are, probably the older ones are like U2, The Cure, New Order, things like that, and more current, like Coldplay, Interpol, Doves, definately Elbow. So a lot of British groups. We were just so tired of not giving it a go so we just put ads up. Luke answered an ad that Mark had, the other guitar player, and he showed up for one practice and we were sold, because he instantly plugged in and just played exactly what we wanted to hear. On the next rehearsal we had, we called Fico, who Luke met through the 9:30 [Club] forum, and he plugged in and it instantly worked. And we were like, "Wow, this is a little bit easier than we thought, so now we just need a vocalist." Fast forward a year later, and a lot of bad auditions . . . just not great . . .

B: Including mine.

E: [Laughs] I mean we were losing a little bit of hope because us four were playing without a singer for almost a year and we just couldn't find anybody. We auditioned 20-25 people and nothing worked out. Then, Brian told you what happened. But that was the main thing. In a city where a show like Interpol or something is going to be sold out, or Doves are going to be sold out, surprisingly, you won't find a lot of people who want to play stuff along those lines. We found each other and just knew that we had a good lineup.

Speaking of British music, I know you've been played on WOXY and independent radio stations, and you had a single released on Bracken Records in the UK. What radio stations are playing you there?

E: I think we're a little bit hazy [about that]. For a while there was one show called Totally Wired UK. She liked us a lot. She featured us on her top ten or something like that, and I think we got some play from XM in London. Other than that . . .

B: We don't really have a good sense of who is playing us.

E: The guy at Bracken says that we've been played, but I guess it's hard to kind of keep tabs because he lives here. So it's sort of like throwing something over a fence, you know. You just throw it over there. We got a lot of random e-mails from people from the UK . . . fans and promotion companies and some labels, so we knew that it got out there, but to this day we're not sure how people found us. We get these emails, but we never ask, "Well how did you find out?" And we always mean to, but we just figure we'll just go with it. But I knw we've got some warm response there, so that's good.

I lived in London for a year and I'm really into British music, and I think you guys would be big in the UK.

E: We're hoping. We're hoping to quit our day jobs . . . and move there [ laughing].

I've heard of bands that have more of a British sound actually transplanting themselves. Like Trespassers William, from California. I think they actually moved to London for a while and just blew up.

B: Oh wait didn't they play on Morning Becomes Eclectic? And I think the Strokes lived in the UK, and then they came over to the US.

E: A lot of bands, you know like Interpol, Strokes, made it big there first, and then struck here second, so maybe we'll fall in those lines. We'll take here or there.

So you definately want to quit your day jobs and be career musicians?

E: Absolutely.

B: I mean we're pretty focused.

E: I've been in bands before Cartel, and the weird thing is all five of us . . . not to speak ill of past band members, but everyone is really well-read, not flaky, very professional. At the same time, everyone is successful in what they do day-job-wise, but I think we set the rules in the beginning that "If we're going to do this, is everybody on board for if that time comes? Are you ready to drop [everything] and do it?" And everyone is, 100% all the way.

B: Yeah. 110%. So, the scary thing is we think it could be happening, when we've got to make that choice. And it's hard, you know, but it'll happen. It's a choice where we have our lives, you know, all of our lives. I mean, we're all set in different areas and sort of established. Then you sort of hit that tipping point of being in a band where you either get signed or you need to deprioritize the band for the sake of mortgages.

Cartel will be playing at the Black Cat with Washington Social Club and Monopoly on Fri., Aug. 5.

Click here to buy the Safety in Numbers EP (2004)
Click here to download and listen to five full tracks by Cartel

July 23, 2005

Interview: Namelessnumberheadman

"I have faith in a stupid name. Someday, culture will catch up to us." - Andrew Sallee

Regardless of what you think of their name, Namelessnumberheadman are undoubtedly one of the most innovative acts in indie music today. Their 2004 album, Your Voice Repeating, confirmed their status as staples of the Kansas City, Missouri music scene, and made waves among critics' circles across the country. Members Jason Lewis and Andrew Sallee discuss their roots and musical influences, and give us a glimpse of new recordings.

Describe the Kansas City music scene and your place in it.

Jason: The scene right now is really great. There are a lot of groups from Kansas City and nearby Lawrence, Kansas that are doing some really interesting things. A lot of talented bands we know from here (like The Golden Republic, Doris Henson, Minus Story, Ghosty and others) are signed to good labels and have been touring a lot recently, so hopefully that will bring some attention to what is happening here. It's a good time to be making music in Kansas City. As far as our place in the scene, I think that we've always felt welcome here, even when we first started out about five years ago. With all of the keyboards and everything we were using on stage I think we were obviously a little bit different, but we've always received a lot of support from other bands and people in this area.

Andrew: I agree that the scene is very exciting. The bands have unique sounds, but there seems to be a larger emphasis these days on melody and 'song' songs, as opposed to stuff that rocks. People seem to be doing very classy but interesting things with good old melody and harmony.

Since the three of you have stayed close to home, what is it about KCMO that inspires you?

J: I think that we all really enjoy (and are influenced by) living in the Midwest. It is hard to describe sometimes, but a lot of our sound and the way we try to mix acoustic and electronic elements is a result of growing up in this part of the country. Kansas City is great because there are a lot of interesting musical and artistic events happening around and you can experience these things in a more intimate setting. For example, a band like The Decemberists play a 1000 or 2000 capacity venue in New York, but here you can see them in a smaller place that holds 300. It is a bigger city with a lot to do, but not so big that you feel overwhelmed.

A: All three of us actually grew up in the same small town in Oklahoma and gradually migrated to KCMO several years ago. More and more, I really appreciate Kansas City. It is very close to the geographic center of America and there is a history of all sorts of music, art, philanthropy, and science here. The general attitude in a lot of circles is very open and unpretentious. At the same time, there is some land-locked restlessness that can be oddly inspiring, as well.

Who and what are your musical influences?

J: We all really love The Flaming Lips, and since we are from the same place as them I think it means even more to us to see them do so many good things. Other influences and bands we've been listening to a lot lately are The Beatles, Sparklehorse, Andrew Bird, DJ Shadow, Tortoise, Sufjan Stevens and many more depending on the day.

A: I heartily affirm all of Jason's picks and add Iris Dement (fromKC!), Greg Brown, Bjork, XTC, and Bela Bartok.

I understand you play around KCMO often, and have a cult following there. Do you plan to tour away from home any time soon?

J: We've done a very small amount of touring since our last album was released 9 months ago, but we'd like to do more. At this point we don't have a record label, but once the new album is finished and we get some label support we'd hope to play out of Kansas City as much as possible.

According to your post on the NNHM website in April, you are recording new material. How is the recording process going?

J: It is going well so far. We've got about five songs that are pretty close to being completely done, with another five or so in the "rough demo" stage of the process. Hopefully everything will be done in the next couple of months.

When do you expect to release new material?

J: Good question. That really all depends on the label situation. We want to release the album in a timely manner, but we also want to find a label that is a good fit for us so if we spend a few months shopping around a completed album to people we are ready to do that. Ideally,we'd have everything ready to go this fall, but we realize that with promotion and things the "official release" might not happen until next year. Or maybe we'll just release it ourselves and it could be out very soon. We're wacky that way.

A: For some reason, the other guys have voted down my idea [of] presenting the album as a boxed set of 5 seven inches with handcrafted artwork. We are currently in negotiations and hopefully things will be resolved before we record our fourth album.

How does the new material compare to Your Voice Repeating and the earlier albums?

J: You never really can tell until the album is done, but it seems like this one is a bit more mellow and more focused on melody and has shorter songs. The five songs we've just about completed are only about 16 minutes total length, which was a bit of a shock to us. We'll probably have some longer songs once it is all finished so we don't have to pull a Guided by Voices and have 27 songs on one 37 minute album.

A: We are employing some new sounds, but nothing too crazy. I have been sampling sounds from my house to throw in an occasional percussion track. Jason's favorite is all the slurpy water sounds I got from my leaky sink faucet. But seriously, so far things seem to be a bit more song focused and maybe slightly stripped down. We have done a lot of dense layers in the past and some of what we have so far is pretty stark at times.

Your sound is a very interesting blend of electronic sounds and traditional instruments. Do you use digital or analog equipment to record?

J: Our first demo was recorded on analog, but ever since then we've done digital recording on a computer. When we first made the switch to digital we were a little bit concerned, but these days we are really comfortable and enjoying all 24 tracks of digital recording at our disposal.

Any other big plans/events in the works?

J: Just finishing up the album, getting married (not to each other) and playing shows around Kansas City. We'll also be vigorously working on that whole record label thing.

A: Lots of lobbying and legal wrangling for my Campaign For Vinyl In Namelessnumberheadman.

I enjoyed Chuck's article in McSweeney's, "Bands and Musicians Whose Careers Would Be Quite Different Had They Initially Misspelled Their Own Names." How do you think the name Namelessnumberheadman has affected your career?

J: A lot of reviews about our band only have one criticism and that is the name. It is pretty long and unwieldy, but people around here seem to be used to it by now. We've contemplated changing or shortening it, but so far we've decided to stick with it until the bitter end.

A: I have faith in a stupid name. Someday, culture will catch up to us.

Where did you get the name Namelessnumberheadman?

J: It comes from a character in a rather obscure movie by Steven Soderbergh called Schizopolis. If you are ever in the mood to laugh and be confused and entertained all at once, you should watch it.

Related articles:
Namelessnumberheadman

July 22, 2005

Sigur Ros Hollywood Bowl Presale

For all you poor people scrambling for presale tickets to Sigur Ros' gig at the historic Hollywood Bowl, you don't have to pay $3 for the password. The presale password is: klink. Buy the presale tickets here until 10PM this evening. The general sale starts tomorrow.

Related articles:
Sigur Ros North American Tour
Sigur Ros L.A. Concert and New Album

July 20, 2005

Death Cab for Cutie Makes Plans

On Aug. 30, Death Cab for Cutie will release their eagerly awaited album, Plans, on Barsuk Records. The first single will be "Soul Meets Body," and you can listen to a streaming version of the track on Death Cab's My Space website before it gets radio play in September. The band is about to go on a tour which includes performances at Lollapalooza, Street Scene, and Austin City Limits.

The track list to Plans has just been announced:

1. marching bands of manhattan
2. soul meets body
3. summer skin
4. different names for the same thing
5. i will follow you into the dark
6. your heart is an empty room
7. someday you will be loved
8. crooked teeth
9. what sarah said
10. brothers on a hotel bed
11. stable song
12. talking like turnstiles (vinyl-only bonus track)

Click here to pre-order Plans

July 18, 2005

2005 Music Festival Guide

Where can you be muddy, hot as hell, dehydrated, hungry, and packed like a sardine in a tin can, and still not have a care in the world? At a music festival! And even though Coachella, T in the Park, Live 8, Glastonbury, and the Intonation Music Festival have passed, there are still plenty of opportunities to attend gatherings of all the greatest bands of 2005. Here is a list of the biggest and best music festivals around the US and the UK:

Jul. 23-24 Lollapalooza (Chicago, IL):
A larger-than-life festival for a cosmopolitan city. More than 60 bands on 5 stages, including The Pixies, Weezer, The Killers, Primus, Dinosaur Jr., Arcade Fire, Cake, Dashboard Confessional, Death Cab for Cutie, Spoon, Blonde Redhead, . . . And You Will Know Us By The Trail of the Dead, The Bravery, The Dandy Warhols, Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, and . . . I have run out of breath.

Tickets:
Virgin Mega Store Promo ($100)
2-Day Pass ($115)
Single-Day Passes ($60)

Jul. 30 Street Scene (San Diego, CA):
When it comes to rock, the west-coast will not be outdone. San Diego's 2005 Street Scene festival features The Killers, The White Stripes, Social Distortion, Black Eyed Peas, Garbage, Flogging Molly, Kasabian, Hot Hot Heat, and The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Pixies, Dashboard Confessional, The Used, and Death Cab for Cutie.

Click here to buy tickets:
VIP ($300)
2-day ($85)
Single-day ($55)

Aug. 20-21 V Festival (Staffordshire, England):
For those music fans across the pond, stop by the Virgin Music Festival for four stages full of the best in British and international music, including the Scissor Sisters, Franz Ferdinand, Embrace, Athlete, Thirteen Senses, Oasis, The Zutons, The Prodigy, The Hives, The Ordinary Boys, The Chemical Brothers, Doves, Kaiser Chiefs, The Bravery, Ian Brown, Jem, Robert Plant, Polyphonic Spree, and Emiliana Torrini. Click here for ticket info.

Aug. 26-28 The Carling Weekend: Reading and Leeds (England):
After V Festival, if you're not completely exhausted and broke, head on over to Reading for The Pixies, The Killers (do they ever rest?), Queens of the Stone Age, The Coral, Elbow, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, Razorlight, The Charlatans (UK), Roots Manuva, Kasabian, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The final day is filled with heavy metal and punk, including Iron Maiden, Marilyn Manson, Iggy & The Stooges, Bloc Party, and The Futureheads. Weekend tickets are sold out, but you can still find day tickets here.

Aug. 27 Creamfields (Merseyside, England):
When you get your third wind, boogie on down to this fabulous UK dance festival that features all the biggest names in techno and electronic music. The lineup so far includes Bassment Jaxx, Faithless, Paul Van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold, Fatboy Slim, Timo Maas, Rob Da Bank, and more. Reserve tickets here.

Sept. 23-25 Austin City Limits (Austin, TX):
Nothing is small in Texas, and that goes for the festivals as well. One of the premier locations for fostering new music, Austin City Limits brings us absolutely everyone who was important to music this year, including Coldplay, Oasis, Wilco, Thievery Corporation, Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie, Bloc Party, Kasabian, Keane, Doves, Rilo Kiley, The Decemberists, The Bravery, Eisley, The Fiery Furnaces, and countless others.

Tickets on sale here:
3-day passes ($105)
1-day pass ($45)

Oct. 14-17 Xingolati (Carnival Paradise Cruise):
Last but not least, consider the bizarre festival masquerading as a round-trip Pacific cruise from Long Beach, CA to Ensenada, Mexico. The Flaming Lips headline, and other artists include G. Love, Medeski Martin and Wood, and John Popper Project. Tickets include the price of your cabin, and range from $599 to $2,299.

Enjoy the festival season, and remember, you're never to old to rock 'n' roll, but you might just end up in the medical tent.


This story was posted to Blogcritics, and was selected as a Music Editor Pick of the Week