Friday, March 30, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Ted Leo Returns To The District
Ted Leo returns to DC tonight for a sold out show at the 9:30 Club. For those of you who don't have tickets, NPR will have a live webcast of the event that will begin at approximately 9:40PM. All you have to do is visit their site around show time and you will find a link and a live chat. For more details, go here.
Labels: Ted Leo
Throwback Thursday: The Bloodhound Gang
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Contest: Vienna Teng
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Not So New Release Tuesday: Lost and Gone Forever
Monday, March 26, 2007
The Daytrotter Session: These United States
These United States are a DC band that we have raved about on many occasions. Well, now we have a new reason. No, the album is not out yet (Jesse - I know that you have been known to read this site. So please tell me that this will be happening soon?). However, there is new material floating around. It also happens to be brilliant and free! Jesse recorded a Daytrotter Session that became available a few days ago. The songs are basically stripped down solo versions of some of the great These US songs. I couldn't recommend them more. Check them out and you will get a hint of how great the album is going to be. You can also read a great interview and see what Jesse has to say about the songs.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Daytrotter, they have artists come to their studio in Rock Island, IL. They record 4 songs in the studio and release them for free on their site. The recordings usually turn out to be raw live versions of the songs being played and are unique. Definitely support their wonderful site and let them know how good it is.
The Daytrotter Session
Already Got a Girl Who Calls Me That
So High So Low So Wide So Long
What Do You Want With My Heart?
Friday, March 23, 2007
The Friday Rant: Waiting On the World To Change - The Cop Out
This particular moment of clarity occurred for me while sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic with only the music from my MP3 player keeping me from leaping out of my car and beating multiple fellow motorists to death with my handy-dandy ice scraper. I was sitting there seething, listening to the song and then it hit me. Eureka! Or, closer to my true reaction: "waitaminutewhatthehellisthisguysaying?!?!?"
I do not for one second question John Mayer's talent as an artist. He is a gifted songwriter and a vastly underrated guitarist (though Rolling Stone has referred to him as one of the "New Guitar Gods." With all that being said, I am scratching my head at what might have possessed Mr. Mayer to write a song like this. The following is a quote as to what Mayer intended with the song (taken from Sony BMG's releases web site): "I don’t believe that inaction is disinterest, I think inaction is preservation. Nobody wants to get involved in a debate in which the rules and the facts will change so that they’ll lose".
Me and all my friends We're all misunderstood They say we stand for nothing and There's no way we ever could...
Supposedly, John is writing as the voice of a disinterested youth. Forgive me if I am wrong, but it sounds to me like he is singing as the voice of couldn't-be-bothered do-nothing celebrities everywhere. A lot of your friends are probably misunderstood, John. Most people are in some way. But there is nothing to misinterpret when it comes to the inaction of those with a true voice and a means to get a message across. No one is saying that every artist needs to do a Leonardo DiCaprio and take a stand on global warming or devote an entire album to how f'd the country and world have gotten (a la Green Day). In fact, I don't blame young celebrities for partying and enjoying their money and fame. If I were young and rich I can guarantee you I'd be paying the paparazzi's bills in earnest. I can completely understand it if activism isn't your thing, so why not just shut up, make your music and keep your head in the sand?
...now we see everything that's going wrong With the world and those who lead it We just feel like we don't have the means To rise above and beat it...
I find myself wondering how John Mayer came to be the mouthpiece for do-nothing pop and Hollywood stars alike. Did they draw straws to see who was going to tell the world's youth that its okay to expect positive evolution while everyone sits and hopes things change? Standing up to corrupt systems is hard. It hasn't been an easy thing to do ever in the whole of human existence! That is why people who DO stand up for what is right, who DO challenge the status quo and who speak and fight for those who can't for themselves are considered heroes. What would the world be like if the founding fathers of the United States such as your George Washingtons and Thomas Jeffersons - or the Frederick Douglasses, Dr. Martin Luther Kings, Ghandis, Nelson Mandelas, Steve Bikos, Che Guevaras and other freedom fighters from all around the world simply WAITED for the world to change?
...and when you trust your television What you get is what you got Cause when they own the information, oh They can bend it all they want
There is some truth to these lyrics but this might be the line that roils me the worst. This is either the lamest excuse in the song, or Mayer is insinuating something far more insidious. This is the information age. I have no doubt the current administration has leveraged media outlets to control content. But I am still not about to swallow this load of malarkey for even a millisecond. Celebrities have countless ways to get messages across. Web sites, live interviews, their art or what have you. Our country's media and our society in general are set up so we pay attention to celebrities and ignore what is going on in the world. Western civilization is quite simply celebrity-crazed, and the puppeteers (Big Business, government, etc.) that control us LOVE it. Information is power. Most powerful governments do a good job of controlling it. The only way this lyric holds any water is if the current administration threatened to put the kibosh on the careers of artists who speak out. I just don't see it.
It's not that we don't care, We just know that the fight ain't fair So we keep on waiting Waiting on the world to change
There is a huge difference between not doing something and making millions of dollars while making excuses for not doing something. No John, the fight ain't fair. It never is nor has it ever been. But we live in time where celebrities and regular people alike have more than enough means to take a stand and be a voice for change if they so choose. If you choose not to, then you are either afraid - or YOU DON'T CARE.
So John, thank you for sharing that it's hard to take a stand. Thank you Captain Obvious. Hopefully when its time to choose someone else to make excuses for people of means who choose to bring nothing to the table politically while promoting a grin-and-bear-it laissez-faire attitude towards the world you won't draw the short straw. Stick to love songs, enjoy your money and your ultra-hot uber-ditz girlfriend. Hopefully your single has cleared your conscience. Standing idly by and watching something happen is almost as bad as committing the act. The majority of Germany and for that matter the European continent applied the WOTWTC philosophy to the Nazis in the late 1930's and early 1940's and look how that worked out. At what point does one take action, John?
OK, enough with Mayer. While I am still fired up, I want to talk about something else that burns me...
As most past readers of this column are aware, Carrie Underwood is one of my all time favorite artists (gag!). Did anyone catch her appearance on American Idol on March 8th? Wow. Carrie might be rich and vastly more talented at singing than I am at anything, but damn it if I didn't want to buy her a hoagie. She looked skeletal. That didn't take very long. Underwood performed her single "Wasted", and looks as though she was talking about her own body. I will never be one to make fun of eating disorders but I thought this fad was on its way out. Shame, really. I guess it shouldn't surprise me when you see what is happening with the young starlets in Hollywood. Oh well, until next week...
Labels: The Friday Rant
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Throwback Thursday: R.E.M. (Post IRS)
Back in September, we covered R.E.M. in their IRS years, due to the fact that the Best Of came out at this time. It is time to revisit, as they were recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
After their stint with IRS, R.E.M. moved to a major label and took the momentum from Document to launch themselves on the road to glory. Already having a large following on college campuses and some air play from a few singles, they took over the alternative scene with the uber-catchy, radio friendly, yet still socially conscious Green. They continued with stellar albums (Out of Time, Automatic for the People), while trying new things (Is that Peter Buck playing a mandolin? Michael is bald?). The rocking Monster and the tour that accompanied it saw the end of R.E.M. as we knew it. Bill Berry almost died on tour and then left the band. New Adventures in Hi-Fi, recorded on tour and a pretty good album, kept it going, but it seemed the flame dwindled after that. While Up, Reveal, and Around the Sun have their moments, they lack the flavor of the days with IRS and the glory of the first few WB albums.
That being said, they will always be one of the most influential bands in college-rock, the indie scene, alternative, whatever you called it (I personally went through all three) and are now enshrined forever as a hall-of-fame band.
Pop Song 89
World Leader Pretend
Out of Time (1991)
Radio Song (feat. KRS-One)
Automatic for the People (1992)
What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
New Adventures in Hi-Fi (1996)
How the West Was Won and What It Got Us
At My Most Beautiful
All The Way to Reno
Beat a Drum
Around the Sun (2004)
Leaving New York
And as a little bonus:
Love is All Around
1/18/07: The Police
1/11/07: Smashing Pumpkins
1/4/07: Ryan Adams
12/28/06: The Replacements
12/14/06: Talking Heads
12/07/06: Peter Gabriel
11/30/06: The Pixies
11/09/06: Ben Folds Five
11/02/06: Beastie Boys
10/26/06: Joy Division
10/19/06: They Might Be Giants
10/12/06: The Psychedelic Furs
10/05/06: The Clash
09/28/06: The Smiths
09/21/06: A Tribe Called Quest
09/14/06: R.E.M. (The IRS Era)
09/07/06: The Cure
08/24/06: The Lemonheads
08/17/06: Depeche Mode
08/10/06: New Order
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Yes, it's true. There is definitely a certain type of music that always seems to attract me. Lately it has been music that would have sounded more in place 20 years ago, than it does today. Continuing the recent parade of bands that owe most of their influences to 1980's Britain, is Norway's New Violators. Instead of name dropping all of the bands that they remind me of, I'll just tell you what I think of their music. I hate to dance and it makes me want to. The few songs that I have heard are really good (especially for a band that has been together for a few months) and I look forward to their debut album.
Labels: New Violators
So you all know who the actor Jason Schwartzman is. Well, he started a new musical project called Coconut Records. The debut album Nighttiming comes out this summer, but yesterday saw its digital release. The music is laid back indie pop. While it isn't exactly my thing, I have to admit that it is a lot better than the garbage that most actors release. Take a listen to the single "West Coast" and see what you think. If you like it, you can get the whole album pretty cheap over at Amie Street. Use the promo code "instrumental" when you sign up and you will get some free cash added to your account.
Labels: Coconut Records
Let's start by getting this out of the way. Illinois is a band from... Bucks County, PA. So yeah, they are from much closer to Philly than Chicago. That said, they make some really good indie pop music. Their EP What The Hell Do I Know? was just released by Ace Fu this month and they are currently playing just about everywhere. Upcoming shows in the mid-atlantic region are:
Apr 13: World Cafe WXPN Free @ Noon, Philly
Apr 14: Starlight Ballroom, Philly
May 12: 9:30 Club w/The Kooks, DC
Check out a couple of songs...
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Back From The Dead
Anbody who has been on the site over the past 2 days has probably been doing a double take. IA is being updated again? Well, yes. It is true. IA is back and there is a lot more to come. To add to your shock, I'm back too. After dissappearing 4 months ago in my Austin oblivion, I return to the site that I co-founded. The thing is, I am not in Austin anymore. I now reside in the Philadelphia metro, which ties in nicely to this site. I'll be picking up on I-95, where Joe leaves off and covering northern DE and south eastern PA. Isn't it funny how well that fits? IA is now your mid-Atlantic indie rock news source.
Before I revive Not So New Release Tuesday and Throwback Thursday (yes, they shall return), I wanted to discuss a little irony. Eventhough I am back in the region, it seems like I can't shake Austin. I was looking at the upcoming concert calendar and atleast 5 Austin bands will be coming through in the coming weeks. So for my first post back, I thought that it would only be fitting that I discussed one of them.
Like me, Voxtrot is back. On May 22, they will release their self-titled debut full length. Of course, they will be following me to the region as well. Check them out when they are in town:
6/12/07: The Ottobar, Baltimore
6/13/07: Black Cat, DC
6/16/07: Making Time Party, Philadelphia
Thanks again to everyone that sent me their good wishes during my absence. I am in a much better place now and you will be hearing much more from me. I'll leave you with the new officially released Voxtrot mp3. Enjoy!
Richard Walters is a singer/songwriter from Oxford, UK. His songs are quaint and mellow and are the perfect backdrop for the quiet times of the day. Check out a couple of tracks from The Pilot Lights EP, which was released in February via Big Scary Monsters Records.
We Have Your Head
Labels: Richard Walters
The Mary Onettes
The Mary Onettes are a band from Sweden and they remind me of everything that has ever been good about music. It is very true that their music is not groundbreaking. Listening to them makes you feel like you just took a time machine back to the 1980's. It's cool though, because that is what I love about them. They took all of the elements that I loved from that era and combined them to form music that is instantly familiar and suitable for just about everything. Not to mention catchy. There is no denying their influences, but why would they? Check out the title tracks from their most recent EPs and see if you agree with me.
Labels: The Mary Onettes
Monday, March 19, 2007
The Innocence Mission
I'm from south central PA, so I grew up on bands like Lancaster's, The Innocence Mission. Unlike many of their peers that came from the region in the late 80's, they are still very active and continue to make relevant music. Their latest release We Walked in Song came out last week and continues the mellow folk stylings that the group is famous for.
Their only upcoming show in the region is April 15 @ World Cafe Live in Philly. Until they announce more shows, sample a couple of tracks from the new CD.
Into Brooklyn, Early In the Morning
Lake Shore Drive
Labels: The Innocence Mission
The April Skies - X
IA Exclusive: The Jaguar Club
Brooklyn's The Jaguar Club has a lot going on. The band will not celebrate their first birthday until May, but they are preparing to release their second EP on April 7 and they will be playing all over the East Coast in the coming weeks. Locally, you can catch them as follows:
3/31/07: Velvet Lounge, DC
4/03/07: The Ottobar, Baltimore
4/19/07: DC9, DC
On Friday, I received a copy of Ceci n'est pas le Club de Jaguar (French for "This is not The Jaguar Club") and it shows definite growth from their debut EP. The songs are more danceable, the lyrics show more depth and the vocals have more range. The band continues to grow and I look forward to their future releases.
To top everything off, they asked me to premiere one of the new tracks and the new version of "This Year." I am proud to, because it's impossible to listen to "World Gone By" and remain completely stil. Take a listen to the tracks and let me know what you think.
World Gone By
Labels: The Jaguar Club
Amie Street Hits The Road
The newbie digital music service Amie Street is about to head out on its first ever tour. Three of their most popular artists will be co-headlining the event that will take place in the artists respective cities. The Dead Trees will be representing Boston, The Epochs will be representing New York City and Middle Distance Runner will be representing DC. There will also be an additional local artist on several of the dates. The itnerary is as follows:
3/19/07: Great Scott, Boston, MA
3/21/07: Piano's, New York, NY
3/22/07: Galapagos Art Space, Brooklyn, NY
3/24/07: Rock and Roll Hotel, Washington, DC
I'll be at the DC show, so stop by and say hi. If you don't remember what makes Amie Street so unusual or you want to sign up with some free money, read the post that I wrote in January.
The Dead Trees - Shelter
The Dead Trees - Television
The Epochs - Mouths To Feed
The Epochs - Tug Of War
Middle Distance Runner - Man Of The People
Middle Distance Runner- That's A Lie
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Not So New Release Tuesday: (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
It has been awhile since I did one of these, but I pretty much knew that I would be covering this album for weeks now. Blame it on Ian of Middle Distance Runner. He is a huge fan of Oasis and he got "Morning Glory" stuck in my head for weeks. A few weeks ago, I was hanging out with him at a show and he just broke out into song for about 5 minutes straight. Ever since then, I have been fighting the same urge. Damn you Ian. So of course I had to dust off the old CD and give it a spin. I've never been a huge Oasis fan, but I wore this CD out in the mid-90's. Yeah the radio killed it, but "Wonderwall" is a great song. Anyway, enjoy some tunes and take a walk down memory lane with me. If you run into Ian, don't let him start singing to you. There is a reason that he's just the bass player.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Last Train Home
I know that I don't often venture into the world of country music. Frankly, most of it does not excite me. Every once in awhile, I am proven wrong. Recently, someone forwarded me "Last Good Kiss" from Nashville's Last Train Home. This song came out of nowhere, but I have to admit that this is one of the best songs that I have heard all year. It reminds me a lot of some of the more upbeat Chris Isaak songs from the mid-90's. Whatever it is, I can't stop listening to it. It's one of those somgs that is instantly familiar. It's not ground breaking, but it's catchy as hell. Take a listen and let me know what you think.
By the way, this band is originally from the DC area and released the new CD here in February. If you enjoy their music, check them out at IOTA on April 13.
Last Good Kiss
Labels: Last Train Home
Contest: Thrushes CD Release Show
One of my favorite Baltimore bands is Thrushes. I did a feature on them back in December and it has been nice to see them getting a lot of well deserved love since. On Saturday, they will be having their official Baltimore CD release party at Ottobar with Palomar, Squaaks and AVEC providing support. Sun Come Undone's official release will follow on March 13. To celebrate, Thrushes are providing us with a contest. To enter, all you have to do is send me an e-mail with your name and location. There will be two winners and they will be contacted later this week. The prizes will be awarded at random and are as follows:
1 Guest list spot for 3/10 @ Ottbar
1 Thrushes CD
1 AVEC CD
1 Thrushes t-shirt
Various AVEC and Thrushes stickers and buttons
1 Guest list spot for 3/10 @ Ottbar
1 Thrushes CD
Thrushes - Aidan Quinn
Palomar - Our Haunt
Squaaks - Fire
AVEC - While You're Down There