Tuesday, July 31

Live: The Rapture

The Lady Doc and I danced our assess off last week at one of two performances by The Rapture at The Mayan Theater. Despite being an annoyingly 18+ show--rugrats with no manners, respect, or appreciation abounded--The Rapture dished out old and new hits with as much passion as ever. The set was very good, although I would have changed the order a bit--"Sister Savior" should never be one of the first songs played. But I'll take "Olio" as a closer any day.

A few notes: (1) I don't know if the band trucked that ginormous mirror ball from NYC, or if it's a Mayan perk. That thing was huge. (2) Gabriel Andruzzi (maniacal cowbell engineer/chaosax man) got a haircut which you can kind of see on the left in two of the photos. (3) There were two distinct moshing episodes during the show! Where were we, in the midwest at a Bush concert in 1995?

Go here for pics from the night before.

Saturday, July 28

Live: Sonic Youth Perform Daydream Nation

Before Sonic Youth's performance last Friday, I had seen them only one time before, despite having listened to them for at least 15 years. That concert was in 1998 at Smith College in Northampton, MA. I really can't remember the setlist--it was a smattering of "hits" and feedback freakouts--but I do remember that the first track was perhaps the most ridiculous and intense buildup/release I've ever experienced live. I swear to this day that at the height of droning and feedback, drummer Steve Shelley's sticks literally disintegrated from his form of noise. That show was phenomenal, and set the bar really high.

Last week, Sonic Youth pulled off the entirety of Daydream Nation with such professionalism, such skill and mastery, that I spent most of the concert with my jaw on the floor. In my opinion, Kim Gordon is at her best on this record, and during default opener "Teen Age Riot" she laid it on thick. That track continued with the signature urgent and jittery riffs, but ended with a fantastic--and measured--feedback outro battle between Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore, with a dramatic in-air sonic cutoff.

Next came "Silver Rocket." On the LP, this track clocks in at 3:47, with a trashy yet effective noisefest bridge that lasts about one minute. On Friday, the band launched into this section as usual but stretched almost to the point of no return--it was so over the top that a majority of the audience acted like that was it. But Moore and Shelley brought it all home and just killed the rest of the song. Again, mastery and skill in the context of musicality and emotion--they meant every note and sound they created.

Other highlights included "Cross the Breeze" which was so fing rad and bigger than the recorded version; "Hey Joni," one of the best Ranaldo tracks; and "Providence," which provided a nice breather. I half-thought that Mike Watt would show up, but watching Moore press play on an old cassette player--with probably the original answering machine tape--was awesome.

As expected, they ended with "The Trilogy" and simply blew everything away.

I felt so lucky to be in the presence of this seminal group. They truly are the elder statesmen of, god, I don't even know: former no wave/noise-rock pioneers/art rockers/post-punk indie rockhouse? (Not to mention all of the experimentation in-between their more "focused" work.) The members' ages range from 44 to 54--here's hoping that they keep it up for another 25 years.

Wednesday, July 18


Caribou is the stage name of Daniel V. Snaith, who has been making music for six years under that name and the name Manitoba (until threatened by Richard "Handsome Dick" Manitoba of The Dictators.) Not only is Snaith a whiz at crafting some crazy tunes, he also has a Ph. D. in mathematics.

On August 21, 2007, Caribou will release its latest LP, Andorra, on Merge Records. Why am I telling you about this now? Well, if you are the proud owner of a subscription to Rhapsody, the album has been available to you since June 29. What's more, the record is very good. Lots of vocal-driven dreampop, a dash of organic electronica, and--according to Merge--it's "brilliantly kaleidoscopic."

I couldn't agree more.

PS: I actually saw Caribou open for SFA two years ago, but I don't remember them sounding like this. Perhaps I was full of beer and too excited for the main event to provide my undivided attention.

Or maybe it was the fact that I was seeing these bands at Disneyland.

Friday, July 13

The Best Song (And Dance) In The World Today!

Alert readers Mixmasta Meghann and Jammasta Jen alerted me to this excellent NPR find. Just trust us on this one:

Atlanta rapper UNK's "Walk It Out,"


legendary American choreographer Bob Fosse's Mexican Breakfast,


clever synchronicity worth telling others about. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10

Our Love To Admire

Interpol's latest LP is released today! This is their first record on Capitol Records, their new label. I think it was leaked back in June, but I'm old-fashioned and refuse to listen to an album until its official release date (even if that date happens to be before the U.S. release date, like the time I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy of Amnesiac during a layover at the Amsertdam Amsterdam airport, where it came out the day before the U.S. version.)

Anyway, I'm pulling up Our Love To Admire on my beloved Rhaposdy right now. If Interpol's performance at Coachella is any indication, at least half of this LP should be good. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: The record is a good Interpol fix with some infectious tracks and a little bit of exploration, but I rank it under Antics (and of course under Turn On The Bright Lights). That said, the record does have that calculated Interpol aesthetic and precision, as well as Banks' brooding baritone, so I'm pretty happy.

If only they weren't playing the f'ing Forum in LA...

For some Interpol-related craziness, check out aspiring film & TV composer (and young Colonel Sanders look-alike/Interpol bassist) Carlos D.'s montage reel.

Wednesday, July 4

It's a Bit Complicated

I've got to hand it to Art Brut. I ate up their first record--Bang Bang Rock and Roll--like a plate of yams with extra syrup. The strength of that catchy, comical record placed it high on my personal top-ten list for 2005. But the untested durability of their whole shtick worried me that I had ranked them a little too high...*

No need to worry any longer. Art Brut recently released It's a Bit Complicated, their follow-up to BBRR. It's more of the same, and--like with the latest Dungen and Explosions In The Sky records--that's a good thing.

For a domestic tour, all they have right now are two U.S. festival dates--Bumbershoot and Monolith. Hopefully a nice club circuit is in store.

Photo by Rhiannan Sullivan of 'Sup Magazine.
*I realize I'm opening up a serious can of worms by asserting that longevity has anything to do with an artist's ranking on a year-in-review best-of list. Look for a more in-depth exploration of this topic in a future post.

Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll

The other night I was watching the hit-or-miss HD music channel MHD when I randomly caught an excellent documentary about Chuck Berry. Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll is Taylor Hackford's film about one of the grandfathers of rock. (As I see it, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson are the great-grandfathers of rock and roll, and those of The Rollings Stones/Beatles generation are the fathers.) The film has no narrator and instead focuses on Berry talking about his life and other people talking about him. Commentators include Bruce Springsteen, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and The Everly Brothers. These interviews alone--especially Richard and Diddley--are worth watching.

Oscar-winner Hackford--who directed Ray, is married to Helen Mirren, and has a forthcoming documentary on Michael Jackson entitled Smooth Criminal--presents a truly intimate account of Berry's life. The biographical aspects are interwoven with the run-up and eventual concert for Berry's 60th birthday. That performance is very entertaining, with appearances by Keith Richards, blues kings Eric Clapton and Robert Cray, Julian Lennon, Linda Ronstadt (!), and Etta James.

By the end of the film I really felt like I got to know one of the great historical figures of Twentieth Century music. And man, what a cool, charismatic, sharp, well-spoken, confident guy. Highly recommended. If only MHD hadn't killed my buzz by following with Ricky Martin: MTV Unplugged...