Wednesday, November 21

The Republic Tigers

Even though almost every show I cover on SSM takes place in Los Angeles, my hometown is Kansas City. I got involved with the K.C. music scene during high school and have kept up with it since moving away over ten years ago. When I go home, I try and hit a few key stomping grounds and visit with some cats to catch up on local music developments. Of course, the internet has made keeping tabs on things -- and actually hearing bands -- much easier.

I came across The Republic Tigers much as I have discovered other music. I linked to their MySpace page through one of the many other awesome Kansas City bands and was instantly hooked by the track "Made Concrete". A lot of musicians blend acoustic and electronic pop sounds, but there was an immediacy and truth to this song that just worked. The layers, the vocals, the was all there. Of course, I listened to everything else they had online and eventually got my hands on their demo.

Fast-forward to now. The Republic Tigers have signed with a new imprint called Chop Shop Records. They've got an E.P. coming out in December and an L.P. in March '08. And although they've really only played the Kansas City area, they will be at The Hideout in Chicago on November 24th and L.A.'s Spaceland on December 19th.

This band is awesome and has a ton of potential. The next year has a lot in store for them and I'll be keeping you posted. For now, I highly recommend picking up their E.P. when it's released, checking out their tunes online in the meantime, and joining me at Spaceland -- or wherever else you might be able to catch them.

Photos by Forester.

Tuesday, November 20

Radiohead Interview on BBC

On Monday, Steve Lamacq interviewed Thom Yorke and Ed O'Brien. The interview focuses on their latest album, In Rainbows, and showcases these two 'Heads in great spirits. Now I'm really looking forward to getting that discbox in the next few weeks...

Thursday, November 15

Wii Remotes As Drumsticks On Garageband?

What will they figure out next?

Some creative programmers have figured out how to use the Wii Remote and Nunchuck as drumsticks in Garageband. At first this sounds like something I would dream, but it's really pretty straightforward. Wii peripherals operate on Bluetooth, Macs use Bluetooth, so the ability to link the two is there. Someone just had to create a way to channel the Wii data into Garageband.

I have yet to try it, but it looks promising. The developers are actively trying to fix all of the bugs and there is a small community of people commenting on their experiences. If things go right, you can be drumming MIDI info into Garageband instead of clicking or tapping away. Apparently the accelerometer information is preserved, so the sound intensity increases the harder you beat. Awesome.

Link here.

Monday, November 12

Live: Jens Lekman @ The Troubadour - 11/10/07


I can't say it much better than mighty Losanjealous can, but Jens simply brought the house down with his sold-out show at The Troubadour last Saturday. But, there is a bonus for you, oh devoted SSM reader: I did get my taping gear out and recorded the whole show. A few tracks are posted below. (Right-click, save link as, you're golden.)

Not an amazing recording, but more than good enough to enjoy. Let me know if there's any interest in hearing more tracks. See the Losanjealous post for photos and setlist.

More recordings TBA.

Your Arms Around Me
A Sweet Summer's Night On Hammer Hill
Pocketful Of Money

Live: Ted Leo + Pharmacists @ The El Rey - 10/30/07

What can I say? A show by Ted Leo + Pharmacists any time of year is a good thing, but to catch them on Halloween Eve was that much more special. We half-accidentally ran into Bones, a surgeon friend of The Lady Doc, who turned out to be a big music fan and cool concertgoer. Anyway, Ted Leo (who was born on the 11th of September) was in his usual peppy mood and this flowed right into the music: lots of energy and fun, and crowd interaction about birthday memories and 80s fashion. They played a lot of what I wanted to hear and made the whole thing happen with Leo's tried-and-true DIY methodology. But there was just one thing: we couldn't get over how no matter how crazy and intricate the drums sounded, the drummer (Chris Wilson) hardly moved.

Live: Blonde Redhead @ The Wiltern - 10/25/07


Joined by The Lady Doc and Michigan Bill, I attended the Blonde Redhead show at The Wiltern in October. We missed opener Autolux (who I hope were tighter than their Sunset Junction performance) but found a spot in the back of the theater right as Makino and the brothers Pace began. They proceeded to play pristine versions of most of the tracks from 23 as well as a few from Misery Is a Butterfly and some of the other records in their back catalog.

The band played the entire show with precision and an intense grace. Makino hopped from guitar and keys while rocking her beautiful voice, and she even broke out a few ragdoll dance moves. Basically, the band just rocked.

I guess they were having a good time because they treated us to two encores, closing with "Magic Mountain" (which is the second of the two vids below.) This was a particularly great encore because, by chance, we ran into some as-yet-unnicknamed friends right before and were able to catch the last number together. Great night.

*After several years of good service, the screen on our trusty Canon digital camera has died. The absence of a viewfinder makes the pics a little tough to take and that explains the tilt in the photo of the band. Anyway, I've turned to my phone as a backup until we procure better gear.

Tuesday, November 6

What A Waster

Somehow there's always someone taping Pete shooting up. I don't think this guy will ever kick heroin. But who cares? Maybe he shouldn't. His musical output is both prolific and satisfying, and he seems to be doing just fine with his addiction. He's almost always smiling and joking, and having a good time all around the globe. A court should simply require that he have a driver at all times so as not to endanger others. Beyond that, just let the man do what he does best.