Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dept. Of Eagles / Cave Singers: Tonight!

Dept. Of Eagles and The Cave Singers (1-28-09)

Just a friendly reminder to any Seattleite looking for a kick-ass show tonight: head over to Neumos, seriously. Department of Eagles and The Cave Singers are arguably two of the best bands making music today, and to see them all under the same roof on the same night is quite a rare occasion. DOE never tours, so this could be a one-time deal. Don't miss out on it and regret it for the rest of your life. Sadly, Peter Broderick is also playing Nectar tonight, but luckily he'll be back in a few months.

Doors open at 8:00pm
Tickets are a mere $13
To Buy Tickets, Click Here

Spencer Krug Plays the Marimba???

Yet another side project
for indie-rock god Spencer Krug

A great little interview with Spencer Krug was recently posted over at Stereogum. In the post, Krug talks about his upcoming Swan Lake record Enemy Mine and how much he enjoys song-writing with his "old friends". What caught my attention the most in this interview, however, was when Krug told of his future projects. Apparently, after the release of Sunset Rubdown's still-untitled fourth LP slated for late summer, Krug plans to finish an ongoing project (two years and counting) composed of marimba and drums. While no other details have been revealed, this EP may be the closest resemblance to a Fifths of Seven "sound." Krug described his fondness of the marimba, stating:
"[The marimba is] an instrument that I've always liked, but I've never had the patience to bring on the road or even try recording. I don't think it's the coolest move for my 'street cred,' but it's a beautiful sounding instrument, what can I say?"
I don't think he'll lose any "street cred" over it, but I'm sure it'll turn some heads. Last time I checked, Jack White is still respected in the rock community and we all remember when the White Stripes had their "marimba phase" (see Get Behind Me Satan). Nevertheless, it'll probably be a year before we get to hear anything from this project, and I've yet to be disappointed by any of Krug's brainchildren.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Handsome Furs T-Shirt w/ Insound Pre-Order

Exclusive Handsome Furs T-Shirt
with Pre-Order of Face Control

Head over to Insound and reserve your digital copy of Face Control, Handsome Furs' second LP. With the pre-order, you'll also receive this exclusive t-shirt with the design shown above. The t-shirt is printed on a light grey American Apparel shirt and was designed by Andy Dixon from The Chemistry Designs. Grab yours before supplies run out. (I got mine!)

Also, available at the band's Sub Pop page, you can download yourself a copy of their first single, "I'm Confused".

MP3: Handsome Furs - "I'm Confused"
(buy Face Control)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dark Was The Night - Streamed Now!

Indie Super Album for AIDS Benefit

What an amazing collaboration of indie music super stars! Dark Was The Night features a power-packed track listing of songs ranging from unreleased gems to supergroup covers. All profits of the album go towards AIDS awareness. The album will be released through 4AD on February 17; however, check out their MySpace page and hear one track streamed each day. What caught my eye was Spoon's contribution "Well-Alright". For hardcore Spoon fans, this song sounds a lot like an oldie from the Kill the Moonlight demos, "Everything's Gonna Be Well Alright" - perhaps we'll get to hear a re-recorded version?? We'll find out soon enough.

MP3: Spoon - "Everything's Gonna Be Well Alright" (Well-Alright)
(from Kill the Moonlight demos/Devil's Dishes Compilation)

Track listing below for each Dark Was The Night disc.

This Disc:
01 Dirty Projectors and David Byrne: "Knotty Pine"
02 The Books [ft. Jose Gonzalez]: "Cello Song" (Nick Drake cover)
03 Feist and Ben Gibbard: "Train Song" (Vashti Bunyan cover)
04 Bon Iver: "Brackett, WI"
05 Grizzly Bear: "Deep Blue Sea"
06 The National: "So Far Around the Bend" (arrangement by Nico Muhly)
07 Yeasayer: "Tightrope"
08 My Brightest Diamond: "Feeling Good" (Nina Simone cover)
09 Kronos Quartet: "Dark Was the Night" (Blind Willie Johnson cover)
10 Antony and Bryce Dessner: "I Was Young When I Left Home" (Bob Dylan cover)
11 Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner: "Big Red Machine"
12 The Decemberists: "Sleepless"
13 Iron and Wine: "Stolen Houses (Die)"
14 Grizzly Bear and Feist: "Service Bell"
15 Sufjan Stevens: "You Are the Blood"

That Disc:
01 Spoon: "Well-Alright"
02 Arcade Fire: "Lenin"
03 Beirut: "Mimizan"
04 My Morning Jacket: "El Caporal"
05 Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: "Inspiration Information" (Shuggie Otis cover)
06 Dave Sitek: "With a Girl Like You" (The Troggs cover)
07 Buck 65 [ft. Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti]: "Blood Pt 2" (based on "You are the Blood" by Castanets)
08 The New Pornographers: "Hey, Snow White" (Destroyer cover)
09 Yo La Tengo: "Gentle Hour" (Snapper cover)
10 Stuart Murdoch: "Another Saturday" (traditional)
11 Riceboy Sleeps: "Happiness"
12 Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues: "Amazing Grace" (traditional)
13 Andrew Bird: "The Giant of Illinois" (Handsome Family cover)
14 Conor Oberst and Gillian Welch: "Lua"
15 Blonde Redhead and Devestations: "When the Road Runs Out"
16 Kevin Drew: "Love vs. Porn"

Monday, January 19, 2009

DIY: Immersion Wort Chiller

Making your own Immersion Wort Chiller

Note: I know this has nothing to do with music, but I felt that it was worth publishing. Enjoy!

An immersion wort chiller is one of the most common chilling tools used by home brewers. Its importance in the home brewing process is paramount, not only shaving hours off your total brew time, but it also greatly minimizing the effects of oxidation and bacterial invasions! The two most common types of wort chillers are immersion style and counter-flow style. While both are efficient at lowering the temperature of your wort from 212 °F to yeast pitching temperatures (60-75 °F) in a matter of minutes, the simplicity of the immersion chiller was attractive enough for me to pursue making one for myself.

First the basics - What is a wort chiller?
At high temperatures, your wort is easily oxidized if aeration occurs, which can cause numerous types of undesirable off-flavors in your finished beer. Also, between the temperature range of 140-90 °F, nasty types of bacteria can multiply and ravish your hard work. A wort chiller helps prevents these problems by rapidly lowering the temperature of your wort prior to yeast pitching. If you want to get serious about home brewing, you should seriously consider obtaining one of these simple pieces of equipment.

What types of wort chillers are there, and how do they work?
A great website here explains the two main types of wort chillers: immersion and counter-flow. This site also lists the pros and cons of each wort chiller style. For simplicity, I'll just talk about immersion chillers since that's the style I've decided to go with. Essentially, cold water is run through a copper coil, which is immersed into the hot wort. Copper is used because of its high thermal conductivity, which quickly transfers heat from the hot wort to the cooler water inside the chiller (Warning: I've seen places selling stainless steel chillers for exuberant amounts of money - don't fall for this; copper works better!). Using cold tap water, the unit uses the coolant to absorb heat by running it through a series of coils. The chiller then dispenses the exhaust heat from the system by expelling into a sink drain. I like "simple", which is why I've decided to build my own immersion wort chiller. I've posted pictures to help anyone else who would like to build one. I know that there are plenty of others out there who have shared this same story - I just thought I'd share mine, too.

Disclaimer: to anyone who is trying to decide whether you should buy a pre-made wort chiller or attempt to build one yourself, I would recommend just buying one at your local homebrew store. Only when you can obtain cheap copper coil ($0.50 - $1.00/foot) is this financially worth it. The pluses to building your own, though, include a $5-10 dollar overall savings and the ability to custom-fit your chiller to your kettle. You just have to ask yourself how much your time is worth.

So with that said, here is how I decided to build my immersion wort chiller.

25' 3/8 OD copper coil ($13.00)
20' 3/8 ID Tygon tubing ($6.00)
2 stainless steel hose clamps ($0.75)
3/8" spring tube bender ($3.29)
Aerator-to-Hose adapter ($3.99)
1/2" female hose mender ($1.79)
Copper wire (borrowed)
Pipe cutter (borrowed)
Half-round file (borrowed)
3 gallon stock pot for the form (borrowed)

Total: $28.82
Before bending any copper, I first found a round object to use as a form. This three gallon stockpot fit very nicely into the 5 gallon boil kettle I currently use for partial grains.

Using the 3 gallon stockpot, the copper piping was tightly coiled around the exterior (note: to avoid scratching your form, you can wrap in an old t-shirt or some thin cloth - oh well).

Once I was happy with the shape of my coils, the inlet and outlet were fashioned using the spring tube bender. The ends of the inlet and outlet were angled downward to avoid any leaky tap water feeding into the wort. The excess copper was cut with the tube cutter, and the resulting burrs were removed with a half-round file. Stainless steel hose clamps were used to attach the Tygon tubing to the copper tubing. I've seen some people use compression-fit hose barbs to attach their copper tubing to the rubber tubing - this is a huge waste of time and money. Simple hose clamps will do the trick.

To increase the surface area of copper in contact with the wort, I evenly spaced the coils out and tied them into position using some low gauge copper wire.

Finally, I put together an adapter that allows me to either connect the chiller in my kitchen faucet for these cold winter months, or to an outside faucet on the nice summer months. Just take you aerator from you faucet into any local hardware store and they can tell you what size adapter you need. They should be able to sell you an aerator-to-hose adapter for a few bucks, which can then be attached to a garden hose mender (essentially a female garden hose end with a hose barb on the end). Hose clamp this to the inlet Tygon tubing, perform a leak test, and you've got yourself an immersion wort chiller.

After this is properly used, I'll report back how successful it was at cooling wort.

UPDATE: This wort chiller was able to cool 5 gallons of boiling wort to yeast pitching temps (212 °F to 60 °F) in 10 minutes. It helps that Seattle's tap water is around 50 °F.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fleet Foxes on SNL

Last night, I happened to catch Fleet Foxes' performances of "Mykonos" and "Blue Ridge Mountains" on Saturday Night Live. By playing the band's two best songs (I can't think of a better choice for the night), I'm sure some new fans were made. While I tend to think all SNL performances sound sub-par at best (the TV can't capture the "live sound"), their two-song set sounded pretty good. So far, NBC has failed to post any video of the Fleet Foxes, but luckily someone was kind enough to post "Mykonos" on YouTube. We'll see how long it takes NBC to pull this down... until then, enjoy:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Plants and Animals Announce North American Tour

Posted today at Pitchfork, it appears that Montreal gypsy-pop rockers Plants and Animals are hitting the road with other naturalistically named Blizten Trapper and Wintersleep. They'll be swinging through Seattle in March, playing Nectar on the 17th. Don't miss it!

Check out this sweet roof-top performance of "Faerie Dance", courtesy of Pitchfork Media.

Plants & Animals dates:

01-21 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island - The Wave *
01-22 Fredericton, New Brushwick - UNB *
01-23 Moncton, New Brunswick - C.E.P.S., University of Moncton *
01-24 St. John's, Newfoundland - Club One *
01-28 Wolfville, Nova Scotia - Axe Lounge *
02-27 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom ^
02-28 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg ^
03-01 Washington, DC - DC9
03-02 Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's
03-03 Charlottesville, VA - Is Venue
03-04 Atlanta, GA - The Earl
03-06 Austin, TX - The Mohawk
03-07 Denton, TX - Hailey's
03-09 Phoenix, AZ - Modified
03-10 San Diego, CA - Casbah
03-12 Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
03-14 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
03-16 Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
03-17 Seattle, WA - Nectar
03-18 Vancouver, British Columbia - Biltmore Cabaret
03-19 Kelowna, British Columbia - Habitat
03-20 Edmonton, Alberta - Starlite Room
03-21 Calgary, Alberta - Marquee Room
03-23 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Louis
03-26 Madison, WI - The Frequency
03-27 Chicago, IL - Schubas
03-28 Pontiac, MI - Pike Room at the Crofoot
05-28-30 Barcelona, Spain - Primavera Sound Festival (Pitchfork stage)

* with Wintersleep
^ with Blitzen Trapper

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New We Were Pomised Jetpacks Song

Head over to We Were Promised Jetpacks' MySpace page and stream their newest song, "Keeping Warm". The acoustic track is one of many new songs that will most likely end up on the boys' debut LP, which is tentatively due out in May 2009 through Fat Cat Records. Also making the track listing for the band's upcoming album is "Conductor" (see video below), performed for Bandstand Busking. I just love the venue for this live rendition. The month of May can't come soon enough!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Pre-Order Face Control

Face Control Pre-Order and Tour Announced!

Head over to InSound and pre-order a copy of Handsome Furs' upcoming LP Face Control.
Face Control is fast and up-beat and soulful and smelly and shiny and real. It inspires movement. It is optimistic. It reminds you: we always have life, the blood pumping through our veins and an easy means of letting it out and showering the world. It is great.
CD pre-order (here)
LP pre-order (here)

New tour dates also announced:

02-11 Point Ephemere, Paris France- Super Festival
02-12 Le Cylindre, Besanon France- Generiq Festival
02-13 Le Vapeur, Dijon France- Generiq Festival
02-14 La Poudri, Belfort France- Generiq Festival
02-17 Lio Bar, Brescia Italy
02-18 La Casa 139, Milan Italy
02-19 Lokomotiv, Bologna Italy
02-20 Traffic, Roma, Italy
02-21 Route du Rock Winter Edition Festival, St. Malo France
03-12 Mavericks Ottawa, ON
03-13 Horseshoe Tavern Toronto, ON (Canadian Music Week)
03-14 The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI (tickets on sale 1/16)
03-15 Empty Bottle Chicago, IL
03-16 Off Broadway St. Louis, MO
03-17 Mojo’s Columbia, MO
03-21 The Loft Dallas, TX
03-23 Jackpot Lawrence, KS
03-25 The Aquarium (Dempsey’s Upstairs) Fargo, ND
03-26 7th Street Entry Minneapolis, MN
03-27 The Maintenance Shop Ames, IA
03-28 The Mill Iowa City, IA
03-30 Southgate House Newport, KY
04-09 Motel Mozaïque Festival, Binnenstad The Netherlands
04-14 Gebäude 9 Köln, Germany
04-15 Molotow, Hamburg Germany
04-16 Beatpol, Dresden Germany
04-17 Nachtleben, Frankfurt Germany
04-18 59:1, Munich Germany

And last but not least, enjoy some songs from the upcoming Face Control:

MP3: Handsome Furs - "Legal Tender" (CBC Radio)
MP3: Handsome Furs - "Thy Will Be Done" (CBC Radio)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Deptartment of Eagles w/ Cave Singers (1-28-09)

January 28 - DOE and Cave Singers!!!

Just announced minutes ago, The Cave Singers will be opening for Department of Eagles on January 28, 2009. DOE will also be supported with the remaining members of Grizzly Bear. This is bound to be an awesome show, and Neumos is a great venue to host both acts. For anyone who missed The Cave Singers last month, here's your chance to make it up. Lots of new material was played, including "Television Towns" (the song was also posted on their MySpace page for a couple days if you were fortunate enough to hear it).

8PM Doors
$13 ADV ($19 after the bullshit charges)
To Buy Tickets Click Here

MP3: Dept. of Eagles - "Nobody Does It Like You"
(buy In Ear Park)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Spoon and aMiniature

"Towner on the B-Side"

It's always been very clear there was a connection between these two bands - the most obvious one being the song "Towner". In 1994, San Diego's aMiniature (the "a" is silent) released DepthFiveRateSix. On that record was a song entitled "Towner On The B-Side". Two years later, Spoon released their debut Telephono, and on that record was the cover "Towner". These songs sound nearly identical - both of the angular/aggressive-rock variety that became very popular in the mid-9os.

I remember reading an interview with Britt Daniel in which he stated that he only covers the songs of his friends. Other examples of Spoon covering songs include "Me and the Bean" (The Sidehackers), "Don't You Evah" (The Natural History), and "Decora" (Yo La Tengo). This practice appears to be true with the three aforementioned songs: John Clayton, frontman for The Sidehackers, toured with Spoon and even contributed his bass skills to Girls Can Tell, and The Natural History opened for Spoon during a leg of the Gimme Fiction tour. Yo La Tengo and Spoon have also headlined numerous shows together. So what is the connection between Spoon and aMiniature? I actually don't know the answer.

One thing I do know is that they both appear to be heavily influenced by Wire. This doesn't come as a surprise based on the two bands' sound, but looking more closely, one notices that aMiniature contributed a cover to Wire's tribute album Whore. The song chosen by aMiniature was "A Serious of Snakes". Now this should sound strangely familiar to any Spoon fan... the reason is because Spoon's second LP's title (A Series of Sneaks) was a play on words for this song. I wonder if these two bands, whose origins lie nearly 1300 miles apart, were actually friends and/or played together. Anyone out there know the answer? For those who have never heard the original version of "Towner (On The B-Side)", enjoy.

MP3: aMiniature - "Towner On The B-Side"
(buy Depth Five Rate Six)

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Tunes for the New Year!

White Denim treats 2009 with 4 new demos

Head over to White Denim's website to sample/purchase 4 new digital tracks. Or better yet, become an official White Denim fan club member and receive all available WD digital tracks for free, including their US debut Exposion.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009! First Order of Business, Swan Lake.

Finally, news about Swan Lake's second LP

Thanks to Wolf Parade's fansite for the heads up, it appears Swan Lake's sophomore effort will be entitled Enemy Mine. There's no official date on the release, but rumor has it the album will drop March 24, 2009 through Jagjaguwar Records. Interestingly, the courtroom cover art was purchased by Carey Mercer for a mere C$25 from an antique store in Penticton, B.C.

The unofficial track listing looks like this:

1. Spanish Gold, 2044
2. Paper Lace
3. Heartswarm
4. Settle on Your Skin
5. Ballad of a Swan Lake, Or, Daniel’s Song
6. Peace
7. Spider
8. A Hand at Dusk
9. Warlock Psychologist