June 29, 2005

Thievery Corporation Sold Out, Second Date Added

The first night of Thievery Corporation live at 9:30 Club sold out in record time, so they have added a second show on Friday, Jul. 29. Tickets for this show are on sale now through tickets.com and at the 9:30 Club box office. Don't delay. This show is sure to sell out as fast as the first.

Related Articles:
Thievery Corporation 9:30 Club Presale
Thievery Corporation - The Cosmic Game

June 28, 2005

Pitchfork Presents . . . The Intonation Music Festival

This summer, Independent music fans from coast to coast will flock to Chicago for The Intonation Music Festival. Curated by the online music magazine Pitchfork Media, the two-day festival will showcase a multi-genre line-up featuring many of the most innovative acts in music today, including Four Tet, Broken Social Scene, The Go! Team, Xiu Xiu, The Wrens, and The Decemberists. The festival features 2 stages, a DJ Tent created by Biz3 Publicity, WLUW Record Fair, and a unique variety of food, clothing, and art vendors.

The festival will be held on Jul. 16 and 17 at Union Park in Chicago, one of the city's wide open green spaces. The admission price will be $15 per day, with a limited number of $22 two day passes which are available online only. Gates will open at noon each day.

Tickets are on sale now! Buy them here.

June 27, 2005

Hear Bloc Party at the 9:30 Club

Kele Okereke of Bloc Party works up a sweat
(Photo by Brendan Banaszak)
Posted by Hello

If you were unable to see UK sensation Bloc Party live at the 9:30 Club in DC, NPR recorded the entire Jun. 17 performance as part of their program, All Songs Considered. Check it out here.

Click here to buy their Mar. 22, 2005 release, The Silent Alarm.

NYC Fourth of July Concert

Yo La Tengo, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks and Laura Cantrell perform in a free concert at The Lawn at Battery Park, New York City, hosted by Matador Records. The schedule is as follows:

2:00 PM Gates open
3:30 PM Laura Cantrell
4:20 PM Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
6:00 PM Yo La Tengo

June 26, 2005

Goon Moon - I Got a Brand New Egg Layin' Machine

Released Jun. 7, 2005 on Suicide
Squeeze Records Posted by Hello

The new release by Goon Moon, featuring Twiggy Ramirez of Marilyn Manson and Nine Inch Nails, Zach Hill of HELLA, and Chris Goss from Masters of Reality, can be summed up by the title of the sixth track, "Rock Weird (Weird Rock)" (MP3). It is a veritable "bitches brew" of progressive, improvisational, and jazz influences in the tradition of everyone and no one.

The album never focuses on one movement for long, changing from spooky Halloween-style effects and filtered vocals to drum solos characteristic of a Zeppelin jam session. "Inner Child Abuse" can only be described as a modern jazz experiment in the vein of Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew," but this morphs into the creepy organs and feedback of "The Smoking Man Returns." "At the Kit Kat Klub" sounds like 39 seconds of someone jamming with their amp in the corner of a club, regardless of the chatter around them. "Mashed" could be a straight-up progressive rock song if it weren't for the ghoulish, bizarre vocals. "Apartment 31" is a genuine tangent into indie rock, and might be at home on a Weezer album with its harmony and light chord progression. The collection of songs will appeal to indie and psychedelic rock aficionados, if not to fans of the members' respective supergroups.

I Got a Brand New Egg Layin' Machine was recorded in Joshua Tree Studios with the help of Chris Goss, band member and renouned producer of Queens of the Stone Age and The Screaming Trees.

Click here to buy I Got a Brand New Egg Layin' Machine.

June 25, 2005

Kimya Dawson - Hidden Vagenda

Released October 5, 2004 on K Records Posted by Hello

Kimya Dawson is not your average female vocalist. The Moldy Peaches co-founder is as straightforward and honest a female songwriter as you will find. Her lyrics reflect her world, for better or for worse. They are mundane and funny, insightful and disturbing, often simultaneously. Dawson's husky voice and acoustic, folky song structures make her words all the more affecting.

Her newest album, Hidden Vagenda, is her first solo studio album since releasing a trilogy of home recordings from 2000 to 2003. She recorded the album in the Bay area at Mourningwood studios and in her friends' living rooms, bedrooms, garages and yards. Dawson was joined in recording by distinguished friends Joe Gore, Arion Salazar, Stephan Jenkins, Daniel Johnston, Vanessa Carlton and a children's choir in St. Ouen, France. The album was co-produced and mixed by Jason Carmer (The Donnas, Run DMC, Third Eye Blind), Arion Salazar, and Kimya.

On Hidden Vagenda, Dawson incorporates a real woman's experience, silly observations, pop culture, and world political and economic issues into simple, unconventional language. In "Parade," she paints a colorful picture of her native New York City: "a big fat mama in a thong/and a college girl with nothing on/share a laugh over a lemonade/seven foot trannies trading tricks/with business men on pogo sticks."

On "Viva la persistence," Dawson voices more serious concerns: "money and intimidation and mass graves make strong foundations/for the giant corporations that own all the TV stations/telling us to take vacations to their big theme park plantations/rather than to hearts of nations." Dawson refers to modern fear and tragedy in "Anthrax (power Ballad Version)," singing, "there's anthrax in the envelope i opened in my dream/the sky is red and little kids are running, screaming in the street/i tried to run and save them but i had molasses feet/i keep having nightmares and i'm scared to go to sleep."

Despite some of her darker tendencies, Dawson uses her songs as a personal healing device and a reminder not to take life for granted. She ends the album with a bittersweet view of life and death: "the angels and seagulls will ask themselves how/i've got my head in the crow's nest my feet starboard bough/and the ocean will say "well she's one of us now"/and i will be set free, i will be set free, i will be set free, i will be set free."

Click here to buy Hidden Vagenda

Download: "Parade" (MP3) (live at the Bike Barn in Falmouth, Maine, Sept. 2004)

Live: Kimya is playing Jun. 25 and 26 in Long Island and Philadelphia. See the Plan-It-X Festival website for details.

June 23, 2005

Headphones Make Headphone Music

Released May 10 , 2005 on Suicide
Squeeze Records Posted by Hello

David Bazan and Tim Walsh of Pedro the Lion have indulged themselves with Headphones, not to mention their listeners. Their experimental, stripped down songwriting technique, using only sythesizers and drums, would seem risky to most in the indie rock industry. However, the Headphones strike a seemingly effortless middle ground between low-fi and electronic. The compositions are layered, if not complicated, and require careful listening to absorb the various blips and beeps, as well as Bazan's lyrical jabs.

In this era of monopolized radio and manufactured music, this album represents a movement in the music industry away from traditional methods of production and distribution. Bazan seems to voice his frustration with the state of things in "Hot Girls," singing, "I called to beg you not to write that stupid song/ but as it happens now its burning up the charts/ and breaking hot girls' hearts/ as it masquerades as art."

The music itself speaks volumes as well. Bazan and Walsh had a simple plan for the sound of their side project. "With Headphones, we generally try to make simple, dark and pretty sounding parts on piano or synth, and then find some lyrics we don't hate." Bazan explains, "when the Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin came out in 1999, the instrumental section in the song "A Spoonful Weighs a Ton" flipped my lid. It was so simple and fucked sounding. I went out and bought a synthesizer immediately. I decided that Pedro the Lion would be, from that point on, only synthesizers and live drums."

They started the Headphones instead. The duo used a minimalist approach as intended, but their clever use of reverb, sustained keyboards, and vocals that alternate between brooding and falsetto, make the album pleasantly unpredictable. "Gas and Matches" is a dark and trippy introduction filled with heavy beats and filtered vocals. "Wise Blood" incorporates high-pitched, softer vocals into a frenetic background of dial tones and beats. "Pink and Brown" has a light and upbeat tone laid over with vocals reminiscent of Wayne Coyne. The album closes on an unusually sad note with "Slow Car Crash," but the heartbreaking description of two people sharing a glance before they meet their end demonstrates the depth of thought behind the lyrics, and Bazan's talent for conveying them.

To listen to tracks from the album and to download "Pink and Brown," click here.

Click here to buy Headphones

White Stripes Announce Merriweather Show w/ The Shins

Jack and Meg Posted by Hello

The White Stripes have just announced a show with indie rockers, The Shins, on Sept. 27 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. They will be performing songs from their fifth album, Get Behind Me Satan. Don't be turned off by the size of the venue for fear of an impersonal performance. If their 2002 show at Detroit's Chene Park is anything to go by, it will be utterly inspiring.

The Presale is Thursday, Jun. 23 from 10am-10pm. The password is: redrain. The Public sale begins Saturday, Jun. 25 at 10am, so get your tickets while you still can. Click here to purchase tickets.

Click here to buy the White Stripes' critically acclaimed Jun. 7 release, Get Behind Me Satan.

June 21, 2005

Thievery Corporation 9:30 Club Presale

Rob Garza and Eric Hilton Posted by Hello

Straight from the horse's mouth:

Thievery Corporation and their full band will wrap up their European touring schedule (click here for details) with a hometown date on July 28th at the 9:30 Club here in Washington, DC. Tickets are sure to sell out with speed so we are giving you, our friends and supporters, the chance to buy them prior to the public on sale date. This special pre-sale will begin at 10am on Wednesday June 22nd and go until 10pm that night. Tickets are $25.

There are a limited number of pre-sale tickets so don't delay! General on sale for the show is Thursday June 23rd available at all tickets.com locations and the 9:30 Club box office.

To purchase pre-sale tickets, click here.
The password is: cosmicgame.

Related articles:
Thievery Corporation - The Cosmic Game

June 20, 2005

Low - The Great Destroyer

Low, the great transformer Posted by Hello

Ten years and seven albums into making music together, Mimi Parker, Zak Sally, and Alan Sparhawk have finally begun to hit it big. Not that this was what they planned. According to Josh Modell, the author of their web biography, "The idea, all that time ago, was to play as slowly and quietly as possible."

Low's recent signing with Subpop Records and their Jan. 2005 release of The Great Destroyer, produced by Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips), marks a new era in their music career. The occasion is also marked by a slight change from their usual slow, reverb-laden style, most evident in the upbeat feel-good rock anthem, "California" (MP3). This method seems to be working for them, since the song has been picked up on BBC radio, and has crept its way onto US radio as well (at least independent radio).

The low-fi aspects of the band's beginnings blend well with their new indie pop tendencies, as they seem to originate from a new self-confidence from Low's members. They retain some of their dark intrigue in the pounding and humming tune, "Monkey" (MP3). They have managed to reinvent themselves and remain on the radar to some degree since 1994, an impressive feat for the trio from Duluth, Minnesota. Their recent merge with the nouveau Seattle scene of Subpop represents the rebirth of yet another band of the grunge era.

Click here to buy The Great Destroyer

June 18, 2005

Brian Wilson Announces Tour Dates

You can soon see Brian Wilson in his element, live on stage. His official website has announced US and European tour dates:

06-22 London, England - Hampton Court Palace
06-23 Bristol, England - Colston Hall
06-24 Oxford, England - New Theatre
06-26 Glastonbury, England - Glastonbury Festival
06-27 Liverpool, England - Pops
06-29 Dublin, Ireland - Vicar Street
06-30 Cork, Ireland - Showgrounds
07-02 Berlin, Germany - Kulturforum
07-03 Roskilde, Denmark, Roskilde Festival
07-09 Munich, Germany - Tollwood
07-10 Montreux, Switzerland - Jazz Festival
07-15 Barcelona, Spain - Pueblo Espanol
07-17 Lausanne, Switzerland - TBA
07-18 Monte Carlo, Monaco - Casino
07-20 Ravenna, Italy - Ravenna Festival
07-22 Rome, Italy - Rome Auditorium
08-09 Boston, MA - Bank of America
08-10 Vienna, VA - The Filene Center/Wolftrap
08-12 Holmdel, NJ - PNC
08-13 Wantagh, NY - Jones Beach
08-14 Saratoga, NY - SPAC
08-16 Philadelphia, PA - Mann Center
08-17 Wallingford, CT - Oakdale Theatre
08-18 Montreal, CA - Place Des Arts
08-23 Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theatre
08-24 St. Louis, MO - Orpheum Theatre
08-25 Kansas City, MO - Starlight Theatre
08-28 Seattle, WA - Paramount Theatre
08-29 Vancouver, CA - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
08-31 Portland, OR - Schnitzer Concert Hall
09-01 Jacksonville, OR - Britt Pavilion
09-03 Berkeley, CA - Greek Theatre
09-04 Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl

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Brian Wilson Makes You Smile

Brian Wilson Makes You Smile

Released Sept. 28, 2004 on Nonesuch
RecordsPosted by Hello

Brian Wilson and lyricist Van Dyke Parks' adandoned 1967 follow-up to Pet Sounds is finally here, albeit almost 40 years later. These songs, taken from one of the most productive yet volatile periods in Wilson's life, finally fill the void left between the fantastically trippy Pet Sounds and the disappointing replacement release, Smiley Smile.

In 1966, when the 24-year-old Wilson began work on the album, it was one of the most anticipated releases of the time, meant to rival then current Beatles' album, Revolver. However, a combination of drug use, family dysfunction, and pressure caused by the success of Pet Sounds and the million-selling number one single, "Good Vibrations," left Wilson emotionally unstable. He spent much of the 1970s recovering, and as a result, the original tapes to Smile gathered dust on a shelf.

In the fall of 2003, Wilson and Van Dyke reunited to finish Smile. After a live presentation in London, Wilson and his band painstakingly recreated his 1966 compositions to capture their original glory. Engineer Mark Linett explains, "For this album, Brian went back to his original modular approach, recording most of the pieces separately so that each section of a song would have its own unique sound and texture. Just as he did in '66-67, the master tracks were recorded with everyone, including the strings and horns, playing live, in a relatively small studio--in this case, Studio One at Sunset Sound in Hollywood."

The re-recordings not only capture one of Wilson's greatest creations; they remain ground-breaking to this day. The vocal harmonies laid over complicated compositions of piano, guitar, trumpets, and strings unique and refreshing. Wilson, well into his 60s, still sings beautifully. In fact, the recordings might be a glimpse back in time of Wilson at 24, jamming with the Beach Boys.

Smile combines the best of Wilson's jazz, pop, and classical influences. "Heroes and Villains" is an epic composition of happy harmony, futuristic sounds, and humming. This song gives way to "Roll Plymouth Rock," a drum-laden soft melody. Each song is delightfully different, but blends seamlessly into the next. Wilson reinvents pop elements, such as an infusion of "You are My Sunshine" into a jazz composition. Van Dyke's lyrics add to this eclecticism by reinventing common phrases, demonstrated by the lyrics of "In Blue Hawaii": "Is it hot as hell in here, or is it me? It really is a mystery. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take my misery--I could really use a drop to drink." The album ends on the perfect note with "Good Vibrations," bridging Wilson's past and future. Click here to buy Smile.

Related Articles:

Brian Wilson Announces Tour Dates

June 16, 2005

Interview: What Makes a Pop Song?

A group of sociologists at Columbia University are attempting to answer this very question. The Sociology department, with the help of funding from the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, has created the Columbia University Music Lab, an online experiment set up to gather information on how people form their musical tastes.

Matthew Salganik, a graduate student and one of the researchers conducting the study, says, "We became really interested in why some bands become popular while similar bands don't." One of the main inspirations for this study was current pop sensation Nora Jones. "She is a good singer, but there are plenty of other people who are just as good," Salganik explains. He and his colleagues, Columbia University Professor Duncan Watts and Dr. Peter Dodds of the ISERP, designed this study to determine how and why people choose certain music.

The online survey begins with a brief questionnaire, the investigators say, "in order to help us understand how demographic factors like age, ethnicity, and musical taste can be used to understand the behavior of people in the project." Subjects are then presented with a list of 48 songs, and when they click to listen, they are asked to rate each one. Once they listen to a song, they have the chance to legally download it.

Since the experiment is still in progress, Salganik was unable to give details about how the bands were chosen, but they are all virtual unknowns, most likely so that subjects will rate songs based on merit rather than the band's name. Salganik stressed the fact that the Music Lab is not affiliated with any record company, and that the study is purely for the benefit of social science.

The findings of the survey so far are also being kept secret so as not to affect the results, but Salganik said that the researchers want to get at least 1,000 more volunteers to take the survey, and that it will be six months to one year before the results are published. Click here to take part in the study.

Beyond this particular experiment, Salganik's research focuses on social contagion, the process by which ideas, fads, and behaviors spread, and musical tastes are an important indicator of this social phenomenon. He says the Internet has become crucial to his research, as well as the social trends he studies. "By doing a study on the Internet we are able to do something completely different, not like in a lab. It is the place where new music is happening, and it is also changing the face of music."

*This article has also been published on The Couch Sessions.

June 15, 2005

Eels - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations

Released Apr. 26, 2005 on Vagrant RecordsPosted by Hello

If you're waiting for the Eels' shiny pop album, Blinking Lights and Other Revelations is not it. On the contrary, the follow-up to 2003's Shootenanny is an introspective double album about "God and all the questions related to the subject of God," according to creator, Mark Oliver Everett. "It's also about hanging on to my remaining shreds of sanity and the blue sky that comes the day after a terrible storm," he adds, "and it's a love letter to life itself, in all its beautiful, horrible glory."

Everett, otherwise known as E, does on this album what he does best, walking the middle ground between comedy and morbidity. His voice sounds like a man on the brink of either laughter or tears, and the tone of the music mirrors his range of emotions, moving from frenzied keyboards Ray Manzarek of the Doors might be proud of in Going Fetal, to the sweet and gloomy violins of "Blinking Lights (For Me)." The song titles, ranging from "Suicide Life" and "Son of a Bitch" to "Hey Man (Now You're Really Living)" and "Sweet L'il Thing," reflect this paradox as well. E has had a productive two years, and he covers the entire emotional spectrum in this impressive collection of 33 songs. To listen to four full-length songs from the album, click here.

On Jun. 28, E and the Eels will be gracing the stage at the 9:30 Club as part of their world tour (Click here for a full list of tour dates), but do not expect the show to be low-key. Though the band may not jump around the stage, much less move, they know how to please a crowd. On their Soul Jacker tour, the band opened their show in Detroit with Missy Elliot's "Get Your Freak On," made all the more entertaining by the incorporation of cheesy keyboards and Everett's monotone voice declaring "Get your freak on" without a hint of irony. Click here to buy tickets for the 9:30 Club show, and be sure to buy the new album here before you see them live.

June 13, 2005

Thievery Corporation - The Cosmic Game

Get lost in The Cosmic Game Posted by Hello

Rob Garza and Eric Hilton have had a whirlwind couple of years. Otherwise known as Thievery Corporation, the two DJs seem to be composing music constantly. The Cosmic Game, released on Feb. 22 this year, was preceded by Babylon Rewound on Nov. 2, 2004, and The Outernational Sound in Jun. 2004. With each release, they somehow manage to gain more and more popularity worldwide, yet maintain their cult status as underground artists to their fans. Their media campaign still consists of short European tours, small impromptu sets at their DC club, the Eighteenth Street Lounge, and word-of-mouth advertising by fans.

The newest release, The Cosmic Game, is a culmination of Garza and Hilton's influences. They continue to build on their acid jazz roots with psychedelic trip-hop, bassanova, and Brazilian percussion. The rhythms as well as the guest singers become more international with each album as Thievery enlists the talents of everyone from The Flaming Lips to Perry Farrell and Punjabi singer Gunjan. "Marching the Hate Machines (Into the Sun)" (MP3 clip) could be straight from Air's soundtrack to the Virgin Suicides, but with an enticing vocal by Wayne Coyne that lightens the mood. "Warning Shots" (MP3 clip) harkens back to the best of The Richest Man in Babylon, with its raggae-rap social commentary laid over a hypnotic beat. This body of work is enough to put one in a trance-like state for a couple of hours, and will probably cause iPod-toting background listeners to sit, if not lie down, for a while.

Click here to buy The Cosmic Game.
Click here to buy Babylon Rewound, 8 remixes of songs from The Richest Man in Babylon
Click here to buy The Outernational Sound

June 12, 2005

The Flaming Lips Announce Live Shows

Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips
wants you! Posted by Hello

The Flaming Lips have announced two new live shows, or as they would call them, "extravaganzas." The official website states, "Don't miss it, and don't forget to bring yer glove puppets, furry suits, fake blood and a big smile..." Most likely, a smile will suffice, as Wayne and his psychedelic bandmates will be sure to provide plenty of eye-catching costumes and props in their stage shows. The first show will be a performance at the 9th annual All Good Festival at Marvin's Mountaintop in Masontown, WV from Jul. 15-17. They will be co-headlining the festival with fellow Oklahomans and improvisational rockers The String Cheese Incident.

The Lips will also be performing in the Xingolati Festival aboard the Carnival Cruise Lines' ship Paradise as makes its way from Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico from Oct. 14-17. The lineup includes an eclectic mix of "groovy" artists, including G. Love and Special Sauce, Medeski Martin and Wood, and John Popper Project featuring DJ Logic. The highlight of the cruise ship tour will be the Lips' headline set in the ship's main auditorium as well as a screening of their recent biographical DVD, The Fearless Freaks, and the first-ever 'Pacific Ocean Zaireeka Party,' a playback of their 1997 four-disc album that requires four different CD players to play properly.

Click here to buy new The Fearless Freaks DVD
Click here to buy the 4-disc experience, Zaireeka
Click here to buy the ground breaking concept album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Radiohead Reveal More Album Details

Thom Yorke performs for trade justice in London Posted by Hello

In true Radiohead fashion, the band is beginning to release tidbits of information about the album, creating a media frenzy for more. Thom Yorke recently told NME that "It's going well. It's a bit like Kid A. We're going through a period of change. But that's good. We'll get there."

This reference to Kid A seems to indicate more about the progression of the band's recording style than the sound of the album, yet tracks rumored to be on the recordings include "Arpeggi" (download the Ether Festival performance here), "Reckoner," and "Glass Flowers." Thom recently played another new song, "House of Cards" (Click here for the video), at the Global Week of Action all night vigil in London. The album is now said to be due out in spring 2006 at the earliest.

Related Articles:
Radiohead's New Album

June 11, 2005

The Microphones - Mount Eerie

Released Jan. 21, 2003 on K RecordsPosted by Hello

Concept album Mount Eerie contains only 5 tracks, yet it is a full-length LP. The ambitious opening track, "Sun," boasts a length of 17 minutes. As opposed to using an attention-grabber, Phil Elvrum chose to string together ominous ambient sounds, keeping the listener in suspense yet willing them to continue. The album is constructed as five parts of a single idea, that of a man venturing into the wilderness to find the meaning of it all, and to find his own identity in the process. In fact, Mount Eerie, where this journey takes place, is the name of a mountain peak that dominates the landscape of Elvrum's birthplace, Fidalgo Island (near Vancouver).

Elvrum explained the album in an interview with Seattle Weekly shortly after its release in 2003. " . . . I think it's about coming to terms with the Void, the universe. In my mind, it is a story of a person, played by me, who is left alone on an island and catches a glimpse of some black ships full of marauders coming over the horizon; so he runs off to the middle of the island and up a mountain, through a glacial valley, and notices the sun has set and reminisces about how nice it was to be lit up by 'her.' Then, upon coming out of the valley, he notices outer space and sees the summit 'buried in more air, buried in space."

"Like, even at the top, there's still stuff above that. Then he watches King Dark Death come in a big black cloud from across the water and kill him, then a bunch of vultures come from Samish Island on a wind and eat his body and fly off. Then there's an awkward silence, then another song by 'him' as an invisible person about how finally he sees the universe's true deep face. Like, it looked like a beautiful starry painting before but now it's 3-D."

The deceptively simple sounds and lyrics are in fact the workings of a science fiction, slightly disturbing and not fully comprehensible. On the other hand, Elvrum's soothing voice and his use of sparse and striking sounds beckons the audience to go on the journey with him through the unknown.

Click here to buy Mount Eerie.

June 09, 2005

Kasabian Sweep America

Released Mar. 8 2005 on RCAPosted by Hello

If you're not on the Kasabian bandwagon yet, hop on. This band has been touring the US extensively, picking up a solid fan base in Washington, DC and other major cities all over America. Yet the band's catchy and complex music has had surprisingly little radio play. The UK rockers broke onto the local DC scene when they opened up for The Music on Feb. 18, and since I attended the performance, I saw first-hand that half of the crowd walked out of the 9:30 Club after Kasabian left the stage, myself included. Not only did much of the crowd come just to see Kasabian, the band put on such a loud, energetic, and epic performance that these concertgoers were satisfied for the evening. Soon they came back to the 9:30 Club as headliners, and have performed a few more times in the DC/MD/VA area. They will be opening for Oasis on Sept. 29 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.

Kasabian's self-titled album was released stateside shortly after the band's successful US debut, on Mar. 8. Their popularity has been a little more slow-going than it was at home in the UK. "Club Foot," "Cutt Off," "Processed Beats," and "L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever)" made Kasabian a national sensation with their mixture of stadium rock tunes and electronica. This album has absolutely no duds, and you can hear for yourself.
Click here to listen to the entire album courtesy of NME.

Click here to buy Kasabian.

June 08, 2005

Gorillaz - Demon Days

2-D shows off his hickeyPosted by Hello

One of the best marketing ploys of the last few years, cartoon band the Gorillaz just released a new album, Demon Days, on May 3. Creator Damon Albarn, along with artist Jamie Hewlett (of Tank Girl fame), has made another addictive venture into raggae, electronica, and hip-hop combining the talents of Albarn and artists like De La Soul, MF Doom, Roots Manuva, and Shaun Ryder of the Happy Mondays. While there are hints of techniques Albarn uses with his main project, Blur, this is a very distinctive Gorillaz project. Surely Albarn cannot help but make music representative of the time and place he is in, and comparisons can be drawn between this album and the the mellow beats of Think Tank. However, the screeching guitars characteristic of Blur are nowhere to be found in Demon Days. In this side project, Albarn abandons rock structures for drums, bass, and synthesizers, with the occasional violin thrown in for good measure.

This album has been called dark, which isn't really the case. The "Intro" seems to set a grim tone with its use of elements of "Dark Earth" from Dawn of the Dead, and the mood might be sustained if the sound of the songs were more like the titles, including "Last Living Souls," "Kids With Guns," "Dirty Harry," "Every Planet We Reach is Dead," etc. But the music is relaxing if not cheery, and the use of choirs, vocal harmonies, and beats that border on danceable make the album anything but ominous. In fact, it is hard to listen to "Feel Good, Inc." without dancing. This is as close to pop as Albarn gets though. He continues to be groundbreaking and experimental in his multiple projects, an amazing feat, especially since Blur, Gorillaz, and Deltron 3030 (with Del tha Funky Homosapien) are all so different.

Click here to buy Demon Days by the Gorillaz.
Click here to buy Think Tank (Blur)
Click here to buy Deltron 3030's self-titled album.

June 07, 2005

Trespassers William to Release New Album

Trespassers William, a four-piece from southern California, has been going strong since 1997, and only continues to pick up speed. The band, named after the unseen grandfather of Piglet from Winnie the Pooh, and perhaps the last name of singer Anna-Lynn Williams and sibling drummer Jamie Williams, has released two full length albums and two singles, and will soon be releasing a third LP. On May 11, the band wrote on their website, "We are done recording and are very excited to annouce that we have just got back from mixing the new record in NY with Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev, Low, Sleater-Kinney, Beth Orton, Mogwai, Delgados, etc...) Look for a late-summer, early fall release on Nettwerk Records."

The company with which Trespassers William now find themselves is not surprising, as their talent for blending indie rock, folk, and shoegaze with a hint of country has made them a cult favorite on the west coast and in the UK. In fact, their first single, "Vapour Trail," (mp3 clip) is a classical cover of the rock classic by Oxford shoegazers Ride, and was a UK-only release. This single is worth the trouble (it is now out of print), not only because this brilliant reworking is not released on any album, but because the b-side, "In a Song" (mp3 clip), rivals the first in its simple brilliance. The second single, "Lie in the Sound" (mp3)(2004), off of the most recent album Different Stars, shows the band's mastery of the sound of heartbreak. The airy soundscapes of twangy guitars, light drums, and Williams' angelic voice not only capture sounds of the past; they create a timeless sound all their own.

Click here to buy Different Stars (2003)
Click here to buy Anchor (1999)

June 06, 2005

Coldplay's X & Y Overshadows A - Z

Starting at midnight last night, the new album from Coldplay became available to the UK and Europe, and tomorrow will be available in the US and Canada. One of the more heavily promoted alternative rock albums of the last month or so, X & Y is sure to top pop music charts around the world. The first single off the album, "Speed of Sound," is all over the radio and television. However, this kind of popularity for a band is often just a matter of chance. While Coldplay have established themselves with two solid albums before this, and continue to make radio hits, many other British bands of the same genre get left in the dust when it comes to capturing the American audience. Here are just a few UK albums Coldplay fans would like, but might not have heard:

1) Athlete released their album Tourist on Mar. 29, 2005 in the US, and it has begun to receive some response. They opened for Snow Patrol at the 9:30 Club in May along with another up-and-coming British group, Embrace. Standout track "Wires" (Real video) has been played heavily on London's XFM Radio. Click here to buy Tourist.

2) Out of Nothing by Embrace is a melodic rock album, as yet unreleased in the US (it will be released Jun. 14, 2005), but it has been a huge hit in the UK for months now. With the help of Chris Martin of Coldplay, who wrote the song "Gravity" (Real audio), the album needed almost no promotion. "Ashes" (Real audio clip), the second single in the UK, topped the charts as well. Click here to buy Out of Nothing.

3) Thirteen Senses has had almost no press in the States, but the band made a splash on UK radio with a few hits from its album The Invitation. "Into the Fire" (Real video) is only one of several outstanding tracks. This album has yet to be released in the US. Click here to buy The Invitation.

If you have not yet pre-ordered or downloaded X & Y, click here to buy it.

June 02, 2005

Radiohead's New Album

Ether Festival Poster Posted by Hello

All of you die-hard Radiohead fans may already know that the band is set to release their next album in early 2006. The songs on the album, even the label that will be releasing it (Capitol's contract has expired), are unknown. Sources at Capitol Records have told the greenplastic.com fan site that they are asking Radiohead to record one more album as a favor to them, but this has not been confirmed. One of the only hints to the music being recorded is a recent performance at the Ether Festival by Thom, Jonny, and the London Sinfionetta of "Arpeggi" (MP3), a classical ballad that worked well with an orchestra, but could also blend with the electronic sounds Radiohead has come to be known for.

Click here to buy the last album, Hail to the Thief, and other Radiohead music.

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Radiohead Reveal More Album Details


The Namelessnumberheadmen Posted by Hello

Although this band hails from Kansas City, Missouri, their sound is nothing like you would expect from the central plains. It could be classified as lo-fi, but without the twangy tendencies of many of their contemporaries. In fact, their music tends to electronic sounds reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie and The Postal Service, but with a satisfying mix of piano and soft vocals.

Andrew Sallee, Chuck Whittington, and Jason Lewis have been known as Namelessnumberheadman since the year 2000, but they have made music together since high school. They continue to be a cult favorite in their hometown, and have begun to make ripples among the music community. Critic Scott Wilson wrote in a recent Magnet review, "if the group called Iceland home, it would end up on the cover of The Wire."

They have produced three full-length albums, namely 100,000 subtle times (2000), when we leave we will know where we've been (2002), and Your Voice Repeating (2004). Standout tracks include "Rest Assured" (MP3) from the second release and "Every Fiber" (MP3) from the latest album. "Going to Breathe Again" (MP3), another 2004 release, represents one their most experimental and beat-based songs yet. This band won't be a secret of rural America for long.

Click here to buy Your Voice Repeating.