Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cold War Kids - Showbox (9-29-08)

Seattle fans showed their Loyalty to The Kids last night at the Showbox

Last night marked the third time I'd seen the Cold War Kids put on a show in Seattle - this was by far the biggest crowd, yet. The first time I caught this SoCal foursome was way back in September '06 at the Croc when they opened for Tapes 'N Tapes. At the time, I had only listened to Mulberry St, but from the sounds of that EP, I knew I was going to enjoy their show. Have you ever seen the movie High Fidelity? Do you remember the scene where John Cusack enters the nightclub to find Lisa Bonet singing Peter Frampton covers, and the rest of the bar is totally speechless, in total shock of how awesome the sound is? Well that's exactly how I remember my first Cold War Kids experience. Hardly anyone in the Crocodile was paying attention when the first opener (yeah, they weren't even the main opener) set up their equipment. But as soon as The Kids kick-started the night with an amazing rendition of "Saint John", an immediate hush was placed on the venue, conversations stopped mid-sentence by the band's spastic jerks of raw energy. And when they capped the night off with "Hospital Beds", I was convinced that these guys were going to be big.

Fast forward a month to October '06, and to my delight, the Cold War Kids came back to Seattle - this time supporting The Futureheads on a North American tour. Unfortunately for the band, however, TV on the Radio and Grizzly Bear just so happened to be playing sold-out shows on the same night. To make matters worse (or better), The Futureheads canceled their entire tour, leaving the CWK with their very first headlining tour. That night they rocked out Neumos in full force; unfortunately, it was only received by about 100 fans. The band played a very awesome, very short set that night (with no encore), but it was still clear that these guys had talent. I think that night they played "Passing the Hat" and informed us that Robbers and Cowards was ready to drop.

So last night was the first time seeing them in nearly two years. In that time, the band has gone on to release two LPs through Downtown Records - however, I was still very surprised to see that they sold out the Showbox which seats over 1000. I was also surprised to see fans actually singing along to all the older songs. It really made me quite happy that these guys finally hit their groove and actually have a following. Highlights on the night were definitely their newer songs - they sound a lot better live than they do on the band's second LP Loyalty to Loyalty. The band finished their first set with powerful, more electric version of "Hospital Beds", then came back to play a two-song encore. The night ended with the crowd favorite "Saint John" which included guest-maraca player Sean Hayes (the opener). All in all, another fantastic show by the Cold War Kids.

Setlist (in no particular order)
"Hang Me Out To Dry"
"We Used To Vacation"
"Quiet, Please"
"Hospital Beds"
"Dreams Old Men Dream"
"Every Man I Fall For"
"Mexican Dogs"
"Welcome To The Occupation"
"I've Seen Enough"
"Every Valley is not a Lake"
"Something Is Not Right With Me"
"?" (some new song or cover I didn't recognize)

"Against Privacy"
"Saint John"

- Go buy a copy of Loyalty to Loyalty if you haven't already [here].

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Aliens - Luna (I really miss the Beta Band)

ex-Beta Band trio, The Aliens, release Luna today!

After much disappointment with The Aliens' debut LP, Astronomy for Dogs, my expectations for their sophomore effort Luna were admittedly very low. I guess I should have seen this coming, too, since history does tend to repeat itself. Just look at post-Waters Pink Floyd: while it contained 75% of the original band, the abbreviated line-up inevitably ventured into an entirely new sound. Similarly with The Aliens, without their lead man Steve Mason, these ex-Beta Banders embraced the lighter/sillier side of pop rather than the psychedelia that originally turned me onto the guys in the first place.

Luckily for me, however, Mason was busy with King Biscuit Time and Black Affair, and my Beta Band withdrawal was treated with large doses of Black Gold and Pleasure Pressure Point (it's crystal clear what influence he had on the sound of Beta Band).

So as stated before, Astronomy of Dogs was quite forgettable (in my opinion), but for the sake of the band, I gave these dudes a second try. Released today on the band's own label, Pet Rock, I'll have to say, well played sirs! This is what I was hoping for all along. Opening with the trippy 10 minute-plus "Bobby's Song", it's clear that these guys aren't writing another radio friendly album. I need a few more listens before I can definitively give my assessment of these new tunes, but after my first listen, this is hands down a quality record. In the mean time, check out this sweet video for "Magic Man" (why do things in reverse look so cool?):

Check three of the tracks, "Everyone", "Magic Man", and "Bobby's Song" at their MySpace page.

Also, go pick up a copy of Luna for yourself, here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

MGMT Covers: The Kooks & Katy Perry

Soon everyone will be covering MGMT

First it was The Kooks with their great rendition of "Kids" performed live on Australian radio station Triple J. Now wannabe hipster Katy Perry takes her shot at it - this time covering "Electric Feel". Now I know acoustic covers take about as much effort as a "set it & forget it" oven, but why can't Perry perform more songs like this? Honestly, it's actually (and it hurts me to admit this) really good.

Listen for yourself:

The Kooks - "Kids" (MGMT cover)
MP3: Katy Perry - "Electric Feel" (MGMT cover)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Handsome Furs - New Videos

Handsome Furs perform two new tracks (again)

A week ago, I posted two new Furs tunes that the band performed live on CBC Radio. Apparently they've done it again, this time for Minnesota's Radio K; however, they also video taped it.

Stream or download the movies for yourself at Radio K's website.

Eagles of Death Metal: Coming to Seattle

Eagle of Death Metal announce North American Tour
First Stop: Seattle

Boots Electric and Baby Duck are back, this time with a major Heart On. Just announced to my listening pleasure, EoDM's first stop on their North American headlining tour will be at Neumos here in Seattle. Having seen EoDM four times on their Death By Sexy tour, I've come to realize that Seattle loves Jesse Hughes - and I think that feeling is genuinely mutual. Never have I seen a rocker with such stage presence - "Let's hear it for the LADIES!"

Also announced earlier this month, Heart On will officially drop on October 28 through Downtown Records. For a taste of what's to come, EoDM's MySpace page is sampling the groovin "Wannabe In LA". And for a real side-splitter, head over to RCRD LBL and catch these in-studio outtakes.

Tour dates:

Oct 30 2008 8:00P
Neumos Crystal Ball Seattle, Washington
Oct 31 2008 8:00P
Wonder Ballroom Portland, Oregon
Nov 1 2008 8:00P
Viking Union Room Bellingham, Washington
Nov 2 2008 8:00P
Commodore Ballroom Vancouver, British Columbia
Nov 5 2008 8:00P
Urban Lounge Salt Lake CIty, Utah
Nov 6 2008 8:00P
Bluebird Theater Denver, Colorado
Nov 8 2008 8:00P
Fine Line Music Cafe Minneapolis, Minnesota
Nov 9 2008 8:00P
High Noon Saloon Madison, Wisconsin
Nov 10 2008 8:00P
Bottom Lounge Chicago, Illinois
Nov 11 2008 8:00P
Smalls Detroit, Michigan
Nov 13 2008 8:00P
Mod Club Toronto, Ontario
Nov 14 2008 8:00P
Studio Jpr Montreal, Quebec
Nov 15 2008 8:00P
Paradise Rock Club Boston, Massachusetts
Nov 16 2008 8:00P
Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn, New York
Nov 17 2008 8:00P
Bowery Ballroom NYC, New York
Nov 18 2008 8:00P
9:30 Club Washington DC, Washington DC
Nov 20 2008 8:00P
The Note Westchester, Pennsylvania
Nov 21 2008 8:00P
Lincoln Theater Raleigh, North Carolina
Nov 22 2008 8:00P
CW Center Stage Atlanta, Georgia
Nov 24 2008 8:00P
One Eyed Jacks New Orleans, Louisiana
Nov 25 2008 8:00P
The Meridian Houston, Texas

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Blakes - Still Rocking Hard

photo cred: Ben Haley

After catching local Seattle act The Blakes open for the Toadies last Friday at the Showbox, I decided that I should waste some time today at work and give these dudes a Wikipedia page (I was surprised they didn't have one already). While the band probably doesn't need my help to get them more exposure (they landed a Gap commercial featuring their song "Magic" back in February), hopefully it steers a few more fans their way. View the page here.

It seems that the consensus on these guys is still pretty polarized - as for me: I am on the side of loving this band. It really pisses me off when the city of Seattle shits on one of their own. If you don't like their style, don't go out of your way to trash them. Critics for some reason have gotten hung up on their fashion and image (as if you can hear that on a record), and these factors oddly play a role in album reviews. Who cares if they wear leather? Anyway, their show was really energetic, and not only that, the this power trio writes some catchy tunes. I'm really looking forward to what they put out next, which should be soon, I hope. I'm guessing it will include the color-blue-inspired "Magic", since Gap allowed the artists to retain all rights to their songs once the add campaign ended.

The Blakes - "Magic"
The Blakes - "Pistol Grip"

You can also watch the Russ Lamoureux directed video of "Magic":

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Toadies - Two Shows/One Night in Seattle

Toadies (w/ The Blakes, Lions) at the Showbox: 9-19-2008

For someone who has waited nearly 15 years to see a Toadies live performance, last night made up for lost time, and then some. Starting the night off early at local Seattle record store, Silver Platter, the Toadies played an acoustic four-song set, which included two songs from their new album, No Deliverance. It was nice to see the band play in this format - I'm not sure that they do this very often. Lead singer Todd Lewis even mentioned that we were only the second audience to hear "Song I Hate" acoustically. After the quick show, the band stuck around and had a signing. At the table, I informed the band how I had nearly given up hope (see this earlier post), but was really excited and happy (gross understatement) to finally see them in concert. They were really cool dudes.

"No Deliverance"
"Song I Hate"
"Little Sin"
"I Come From the Water"

Later in the night, the main event commenced at the Showbox. The first openers to hit the stage were Austin, TX rock group, Lions. Not that bad of a rock band in terms of what passes for "rock" today - not exactly my cup of tea, but entertaining none the less. It got the crowd riled up, so they did their job.

The second act of the night was Seattle's very own The Blakes. Last night was my first time to catch them live - fantastic show. This power trio knows how write some catchy, drudging hooks. Check out their self-titled debut album on Light In the Attic Records - you won't be disappointed. Brothers Keim (Garnet donning a lipstick "Joker" smile) started their set off by informing the crowd that they were drummerless. They then coaxed some poor schmuck onto stage as a fill-in. As soon as he got up there, however, Bob Husak (the real drummer) walked on stage and security promptly escorted the audience member offstage. They played for about 45 minutes, all songs were a little harder/grittier than their album. Again, the crowd was really pumped after this set - Toadies were next!

Like I said, I had waited a VERY long time for this moment. I think in actuality, I had downplayed the Toadies in order to cope with my unhappiness - thinking that the shows couldn't quite sound as good as their studio cuts. I've listened to Live From Paradise many, many times, and Todd's strain to sound young is a little rough at times. I was expecting some old rockers to give a show of classic hits - I'd go home happy, it'd be a good night.

I was WAY off. Todd's voice sounds just as great now as it did in '94, Clark's guitar playing has done nothing but improved over the years, Mark's beats still drive their songs with precision, and newcomer Doni Blair, while a little timid on stage, was grooving all night. These guys are by no means out of their prime.

The energy was present in Seattle, too. A much different crowd then I was used to - less hipster, and much more righteous facial hair exclusive to the chin. The pit was rough, and it pretty much spanned the entire Showbox lower area. Rising temperatures sparked fans to remove their shirts, and body ripeness peaked mid-set around "Possum Kingdom" - some really stinky fans. But the show was amazing - growing up as a lone Toadies fan, I never could have imagined 700+ fans rocking out to every song. It seems the band is able to take us all back to those childhood years when we played Rubberneck on repeat. Literally, they've made a dream of mine come true. Thank you, Toadies.

Setlist (in no particular order)
"Mexican Hairless"
"Possum Kingdom"
"I Come From the Water"
"Mister Love"
"I Burn"
"Plane Crash"
"Push the Hand"
"Little Sin"
"Pressed Against the Sky"
"So Long Lovely Eyes"
"Nothing To Cry About"
"No Deliverance"
"I Am A Man Of Stone"
"Song I Hate"
"Hell In High Water"
"Paper Dress"


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Handsome Furs Debut Two New Songs

photo cred: Jari Kaariainen

On a tip from James over at the lovely Snakes Got A Blog, I did some internet surfing and came across these two studio-quality performances of "Legal Tender" and "Thy Will Be Done". Apparently, The Handsome Furs performed these two new Face Control tracks on CBC Radio.

This new album is going to be sick!

Handsome Furs - "Legal Tender"
Handsome Furs - "Thy Will Be Done"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

New Sunset Rubdown and Swan Lake Songs!!!

New US tour kicks off with some new tunes!

Big thanks to Earl of Slander for posting a recording of Sunset Rubdown's latest show at the The Middle East Club (9-15-2008) in Cambridge, MA. Set list for the night looks like this new tour is a must-see show. Highlights of the night include 5 new Sunset Rubdown songs and 1 new Swan Lake song, as well as some anti-Palin political jabs. Check out the new ones below (with alternate song titles in parentheses):

Black Swan [New]
Taming Of The Hands
Idiot Heart
Silver Moons [New]
Trumpet Trumpet, Toot Toot
You Go On Ahead [New]
(For God's Sake, Don't Let Sarah Palin Get Into Office)
Us Ones In Between
Buffalo [New]
(I Don't Even Necessarily Agree With Obama's Policies, I Just Don't Want Sarah Palin To Get Into Office)
Jackie [New Swan Lake song!]
Mending Of the Gown
Stadiums and Shrines II
Dragon [New]
(I Sincerely Believe That the World Will End Sooner Than Later If Sarah Palin Is Allowed Into the White House)
Winged / Wicked Things
Shut Up I Am Dreaming

For the whole show, head over to the Wolf Parade Forum.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Return of the Crocodile!

Seattle's best music venues reopens after nearly a year of inactivity

The Crocodile Cafe was always my favorite music venue in Seattle. Serving the city for over 15 years, the Croc abruptly closed its doors in December of 2007 - almost without warning. I first heard the news through a rumor from a friend... the next casualty of gentrification sweeping through Belltown. These rumors were later confirmed when KEXP reported that Robin Pecknold, J. Tillman, and David Bazan had played the last show at the Crocodile.

Ever since the Crocodile closed its doors to the public nearly a year ago, there have been rumors of a reopening floating around. At first I was sceptical, yet every time I passed by 3rd & Blanchard, I was surprised to see the old green sign still standing. My excitement didn't start, however, until a bartender at the Twilight Exit informed me that a liquor license had been acquired for the Croc. Now, to my absolute amazement, it was announced today that the Croc will in fact see the light of a new day.

Set to reopen in January or February of 2009, the Croc will first undergo some minor cosmetic surgery. The Seattle Times reports that the new venue will contain a Via Tribunali pizza joint where the bar area once resided. Also planned in the renovation, the wall between the cafe and the stage area will be removed, expanding the venue's capacity to 400. I'm not sure how this will affect/change the Crocodile experience, but I was happy to hear that Jim Anderson will still be in charge of the sound - the Croc has always had the best sounding stage in the city. In case you've forgotten what the old Croc looked like, artist David Choe has been kind enough to immortalize the establishment through photography (viewed here).

In honor of this glorious news, I've put together a little playlist of songs that I've witnessed live at the Croc - songs that rekindle some of my fondest Croc memories. Enjoy!
  1. "Three Colours" - Sunset Rubdown -Daytrotter Session (12-3-2007)
  2. "Modern World" - Britt Daniel - Belly Up Tavern (5-3-2008)
  3. "The Iliad" - Tapes 'N Tapes - The Loon
  4. "Oleanna" - Johnny and the Moon - S/T
  5. "Red Wine, Success" - Cold War Kids - With Our Wallets Full EP
  6. "Leave Before the Lights Come On" - Arctic Monkeys - LBTLCO
  7. "Stay Don't Go" - Britt Daniel - Belly Up Tavern (5-3-2008)
  8. "Office of Hearts" - Handsome Furs - Neumo's (4-19-2008)
  9. "Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?" - Arctic Monkeys - WTFAAM?
  10. "Snakes Got A Leg III" - Sunset Rubdown - Shut Up I Am Dreaming
  11. "Shut Your Eyes" - Shout Out Louds - Howl Howl Gaff Gaff
  12. "Mornings Eleven" - Magic Numbers - S/T