Wednesday, December 23, 2009

[Homeward Bound]

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

[new music] Cold War Kids - Behave Yourself EP iTunes Release

CWK - Behave Yourself EP at iTunes

Cold War Kids finally released new material after what feels like a long break since Loyalty to Loyalty. Physical copies of the EP Behave Yourself won't drop until January 19, 2010, but you can now pick up a digital copy exclusively over at iTunes.

For a sample track, head over to RCRD LBL and listen to "Audience."

[news] Spoon Interviews Howie Weinberg

Interview with mastering engineer Howie Weinberg

For those unfamiliar with Howie Weinberg, there's a great chance you've listened to his work without knowing it. Weinberg is a mastering engineer that has worked on seminal albums by some of the world's most influential bands. Said albums of note (a full list here) include Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill, Nirvana's Nevermind, Soundgarden's Badmotorfinger, Smashing Pumpkins' Gish, Siamese Dream, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Adore, Machina... and now Spoon's new album Transference. He's got the gift of knowing how to ensure that an album sounds good.

The above video is of Spoon's Britt Daniel and Jim Eno interviewing Weinberg about his work on the band's seventh studio album Transference. It's worth checking out, and nice to hear him describe the LP as "rootsier" and "dirtier" than Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.

In other news, a big congrats to Spoon for winning Metacritic's "Artist of the Decade" title. To see the criteria for the award, as well as a list of the other winners, read the full article here.

Pre-order :: Spoon - Transference (released 1-19-2010)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

[new music] Moonface - Dreamland EP Hear it Now!

Own a copy today!

You can now acquire a digital copy of Moonface's Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums over at the Moonface website. Purchased through a Radiohead-style "pay what you want" donation, the one-song, 20 minute long EP is then available for download once the transaction is complete. If you're more of a material kind of person, you can pre-order yourself a physical copy (12" vinyl only) over at InSound for $15 (release date is January 26).

The Moonface website seems to be receiving a lot of heavy traffic, which has the tendency to crash. Be persistent, and it'll eventually go through with the purchase.

Pre-Order :: Moonface - Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums

Monday, December 14, 2009

[new music] Moonface - Dreamland EP Pre-Order

Pre-Order Now

You can now pre-order a 12" copy of Moonface's Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums over at InSound (also, you may notice that the album blurb sounds quite familiar). Spencer Krug's dream-inspired EP will only set you back $15, but you'll have to wait until January 26 of the new year. Here's hoping the digital copies will become available sooner for pre-order buyers...

Pre-Order :: Moonface - Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Three Colours' Year End List (2009)

Not another Year End List

After a somewhat mediocre year of music in 2008, the last year of the aughts brought us some solid releases from a handful of indie veterans as well as some surprise gems. All in all, 2009 has been a great one. So in Three Colours’ opinion, here’s the best music of 2009.

Top 20 Albums 0f 2009
20. Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – Tell 'Em What Your Name Is
19. The Whitest Boy Alive – Rules
18. The Cave Singers – Welcome Joy
17. We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls
16. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
15. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
14. Brazos – Phosphorescent Blues
13. Franz Ferdinand – Tonight
12. Elvis Perkins in Dearland – S/T LP
11. Taken By Trees – East of Eden

10. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
French electro-pop rockers Phoenix treated us with the feel-good album of the year that’s just begging you to dance.

9. Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer / Introducing Moonface
While it’s probably cheating to count both of these as one entry, I went ahead anyway. Sunset Rubdown stripped away the gloss of Random Spirit Lover to return with the powerfully dark Dragonslayer. Moonface treated the hardcore fans with two softly beautiful tracks.

8. Say Hi – The Oohs and Aahs
The very talented one-man-band from Seattle, Eric Elbogen's Say Hi, finally strikes gold with its sixth full-length indi-pop/low-fi masterpiece.

7. Telekinesis – Telekinesis!
This self-titled debut is chock-full of fresh, tender kicks from Seattle’s Telekinesis, another one-man-band fronted by multi-instrumental Michael Benjamin Lerner.

6. White Rabbits – It's Frightening
Hiring the helping-hand of Britt Daniel for the production of their sophomore effort, White Rabbits paired down the big-band arrangements of Fort Nightly to create a more minimalist record that’s frighteningly awesome.

5. Julian Plenti – Julian Plenti Is... Skyscraper
After three terrific albums with Interpol, lead singer Paul Banks explores his creative side with the solo project Julian Plenti. Using his new musical vehicle for more experimental ventures, Banks has delivered some very interesting sounds without upsetting the Interpol fan base. Catching these guys live only made this album more appreciated.

4. Patrick Watson – Wooden Arms
Following up the Polaris Prize winning debut Close to Paradise, Patrick Watson returns with an even stronger follow-up. Accompanied by lush orchestration and eerie vocals, Wooden Arms plays out like an epic fantasy novel, transporting the listener to otherworldly dreamscapes. Secret City Records hits another home run with this release.

3. The xx – xx
Taking me by complete surprise, South London’s The xx have released an absolute gem with their debut album xx. Not only did the xx make it to number three on this list, the band also won “Rookie of the Year” honors with this LP. Sounding very little like any band currently out there, the xx succeed by truly exposing themselves, making their lyrics sound like they’re directly from the heart. The minimalist, indie touch on soft R&B-styled tracks creates catchy, hook-laden instant classics.

2. White Denim – Fits
After landing Exposion as the second best album in 2008’s year end list, White Denim returned with Fits to re-claim their position for 2009. Delivering in one album what some bands strive to achieve over an entire career, Fits blasts all the grooves with no apologies. The band has been melting faces across Europe through aggressive touring. With the superb craftsmanship of Fits, White Denim is finally starting to garner the respect they so truly deserve – they recently signed with Downtown and were able to drop their first indie label record late this year.

1. Handsome Furs – Face Control
Handsome Furs totally blew my mind with Face Control. Upon first listen, each song firmly planted its hooks into my brain, proving to be one of the catchiest LPs of the year. The fact that this album ceases to wear itself out after nearly 12 months of heavy rotation is exactly why this album landed itself at the top of 2009. Handsome Furs proved that some bands aren’t affected by the “sophomore slump.” Face Control is to Judgment Day as Plague Park is to Terminator: same great vision, however, the sequel was executed to perfection.

Honorable Mentions
• The Blakes – Souvenir
• Black Math Horseman – Wyllt
• Islands - Vapours
• Volcano Choir – Unmap
• Swan Lake – Enemy Mine

Top 5 EPs of 2009
1. Beirut - March of the Zapotec EP
2. Spoon - Got Nuffin EP
3. Bon Iver - Blood Bank EP
4. Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - S/T EP
5. The Blakes - Lights On EP

Best Shows Attended in 2009
(I missed some really good ones this year)
1. Spoon / Black Joe Lewis @ Crystal Ballroom (12-11-09)
2. White Denim @ The Tractor (4-5-09)
3. Julian Plenti @ Chop Suey (11-16-09)
4. White Rabbits @ The Crocodile (6-22-09)
5. Department of Eagles / The Cave Singers @ Neumos (1-28-09)
6. Plants and Animals @ Nectar (3-17-09)
7. Telekinesis / The Cave Singers @ Lawnapalooza (5-14-09)
8. Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears @ The Tractor (5-22-09)
9. The Blakes @ Neumos (9-29-09)
10. Dr. Dog / The Cave Singers / Golden Boots @ The Crocodile (4-14-09)
11. We Were Promised Jetpacks @ Neumos (9-16-09)
12. The Cave Singers @ Easy Street Records (8-18-09)

Most Disappointing Albums
We at Three Colours usually follow a strict policy when writing about bands. If it’s good music, we love it up and praise it through reviews. If it’s bad, we simply neglect to mention it. There’s no point ripping up someone’s hard work, it’s just that the music simply failed to hit the right chord with us. On the year-end list, however, we do point out a few instances over the year where a band we’ve loved has let us down. It’s possible that these albums require an amazingly high number of listens before they are truly appreciated, but up until this point, we haven’t reached that just yet. Hopefully on next year’s list, we can place these in the “Most Underappreciated Albums of 2009” category. But right now, this is how we feel about these disappointingly weak releases.

1. Pearl Jam – Backspacer
What happened to Pearl Jam, I ask? Where’s the angst, the fight, or the emotion? Perhaps living in Seattle too long and becoming a father mellows the soul. Or perhaps Mr. Eddie "Antitrust" Vedder has finally sold out, complete with an exclusive Target release. Now that PJ are on their own label, they should have the freedom to fully explore the creative spirit that once brought us greats like Vitalogy and No Code. Instead, Backspacer does nothing but bore. The first single “The Fixer” was a Trojan horse – catchy, upbeat, and a totally different than rest of the album. In the time of American Idol, I at least thought the fathers of grunge would have served up something better than an LP full of family-friendly generic rock.

2. Silversun Pickups – Swoon
After absolutely eating up Carnivas, my expectations for a follow-up were admittedly sky-high. I’m not even sure how to describe it, but Swoon just fails where Carnivas excelled. I’d rather have bands sit on a record until it’s absolutely great (see Fleet Foxes) than meet the fans’ demands and release something that hurriedly soulless (see Tapes ‘n Tapes).

3. Nouvelle Vague – 3
For those of you unfamiliar with Nouvelle Vague, two dudes got together to remake a bunch of our favorite “New Wave” classics with the aid of sexy French and Portugese female voices. The first two efforts were nothing short of fabulous. The main criterion for each cover, that no lead singer had ever heard the original version of the song, made each interpretation an entirely new sounding track. With high hopes on NV’s third LP (fittingly entitled 3), I was grossly disappointed to find out that the original singers from each track performed duets. The song selection was sub-par and the overall finished product left me wanting to forget that 3 had ever been released.

Most Anticipated Albums of 2010
1. Spoon - Transference
2. Plants and Animals - TBA
3. Spencer Krug – Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums
4. Fleet Foxes – TBA
5. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
6. Miracle Fortress – TBA

For the full list of anticipated albums, check out the Three Colours' 2010 Music Forecast.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

[review] Spoon @ Crystal Ballroom (12-11-2009)

Spoon Gives Fans a December to Remember

All week long, local radio station 94.7 KNRK has been hosting a string of fantastic shows at Portland's Crystal Ballroom as a part of their December to Remember series. Saving the best acts for last, Friday night kicked off with a killer performance from Austin's Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. Comically sporting a Tiger Woods hat, Black Joe Lewis tore through a funky, soul-filled performance featuring songs from the highly entertaining Tell 'Em What Your Name Is. Highlights from the set were "Big Booty Woman," "Get Yo Shit," and "I'm Broke."

Next up on the night was LA's Anya Marina. She only performed two songs in a short acoustic set, which I found as slightly odd. Her second song, "Satellite Heart," was apparently one that she wrote for the New Moon soundtrack. The very mention of New Moon erupted a number of boos from the crowd. No surprise there...

Last on the bill was Spoon. Treating their home-away-from-home with a rare sneak-peak of their upcoming album, the band kicked off their 22-song set with "Mystery Zone." Hearing it live, I may have changed my mind on how I feel about this new track. I don't love it, but I think it's better than my first impression. Wasting no time with in-between-song chatter, Spoon catapulted into an extra groovy "Don't You Evah," then brought out the Honeybears' horn section for "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" and "Stay Don't Go." Who knew that "Stay Don't Go" would sound so amazing with horns? Best song of the night! We were then treated with another new track: the punk-inspired "Is Love Forever?" which I think sounded pretty good. They blew through some Spoon concert staples, but we also got to hear a few more tracks off Transference. In particular, the new single "Written In Reverse" was a home run. I was lukewarm about "Trouble Comes Running," but my spirits were soon lifted by "Target," "Fitted Shirt," and many other Spoon classics. The Honeybears returned for the set closers to enhance Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga's "The Underdog" and "Rhthm & Soul."

If the concert had ended right there, I would have been able to go home with a permagrin, but Spoon returned for a 4-song encore. "Black Like Me" started it all off and sounded as good as ever, however, I was completely blow away by what followed: the live version of "Got Nuffin" sent chills down my spine. Lead singer Britt Daniel even announced that it was the best "Got Nuffin" performance they've ever had. The night ended with "The Way We Get By" and a rocking rendition of "Jonathan Fisk."

This was, hands down, the best Spoon show I've attended! Hopefully they'll return to the Pacific Northwest after Transference drops and grace the city of Seattle with an equally awesome show. A full set list is posted below:

Spoon set list (12-11-2009):
Mystery Zone
Don't You Evah
You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb (w/ horns)
Stay Don't Go (w/ horns)
Is Love Forever?
The Beast and Dragon, Adored
The Ghost of You Lingers
Written in Reverse
I Turn My Camera On
Trouble Comes Running
Don't Make Me A Target
Fitted Shirt
They Never Got You
I Summon You
Small Stakes
My Mathematical Mind
The Underdog (w/ horns)
Rhthm and Soul (w/ horns)
Black Like Me
Got Nuffin
The Way We Get By
Jonathan Fisk

Friday, December 11, 2009

[tonight] Spoon @ Crystal Ballroom (12-11-2009)

Last reminder - Spoon in Portland

Spoon will be playing in Britt's hometown of Portland, OR, tonight (December 11) at the Crystal Ballroom. If you're happen to live in the Pacific Northwest, this would be a great time to catch many of the new jams from the band's upcoming seventh LP Transference, which won't be released until January 19, 2010. Also, stage support includes Black Joe Lewis, which means you'll get to hear a handful of tracks backed by the Honeybears' horn section. The rest of the short tour is posted below. If you're not close to any of these cities, fret not: this is just a pre-tour teaser. After Transference drops, expect a more appropriate world tour.

Spoon tour dates:

DEC 11 - Portland, Oregon - Crystal Ballroom (w/ Black Joe Lewis)
DEC 12 - La Jolla, CA - RIMAC Arena
DEC 31 - Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theater (w/ Jay Reatard)
FEB 14 - Glasgow, UK - King Tuts
FEB 15 - Manchester, UK - Academy 3
FEB 16 - London, UK - Electric Ballroom
FEB 18 - Amsterdam, Holland - Paradiso
FEB 19 - Cologne, Germany - Luxor
FEB 20 - Berlin, Germany - Frannz Club

[news] White Denim - West Coast Tour Dates (2010)

White Denim back in Seattle

After taking a brief holiday break from touring the Eastern 48, White Denim return to the road and are heading west! Below are the dates, which include a Neumos visit on January 24 (Sunday). Tickets are $10 and available through Ticketwest, or at Rudy's Barbershop. Stage support includes Austin's very own Brazos. Mark this on your calendar, and pick up a copy of their groove-bomb Fits if you haven't already.

White Denim tour dates:
1/16 - Club Congress - Tucson, AZ
1/17 - Casbah - San Diego, CA
1/19 - Troubadour - Los Angeles, CA
1/20 - The Independent - San Francisco, CA
1/22 - Doug Fir - Portland, OR
1/23 - Media Club - Vancouver, BC
1/24 - Neumos - Seattle, WA
1/26 - Urban Lounge - Salt Lake, UT
1/27 - Larimer Lounge - Denver, CO

Buy :: White Denim - Fits (LP/CD/iTunes)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

[news] Plants and Animals - New Album Complete

Season Greetings from P&A

Arriving via email today was a holiday cheer from Plants and Animals, complete with this great Photoshop pic of drummer Matthew Woodley. On it was news of the new album's completion and a handful of live dates. There's not really much more info about the album that Woodley didn't say in his interview (here) - I'd love to hear the album's working title, or what date the band plans to release it (other than in 2010). Here's what was actually said:
The new record is finished. Now we wait around while the industry types play golf tournaments and do bizness. Then it hits the streets!
Anyway, the fact that's the wheels are in motion for a new LP is enough to make my day. Below are the dates for some upcoming shows, as well as a video of there very awesome "Feedback in the Field" from the lovely Parc Avenue.

Plants and Animals tour dates:

January 23 - La Fl├Ęche D’or - PARIS, FR
January 26 - MIDEM – Morrison’s Lounge - CANNES, FR
January 28 - Paragon Theatre - HALIFAX, CA
January 29 - L’Osmose – U de Moncton - MONCTON, CA
January 30 - The Capital - FREDRICTON, CA
February 17 - Ninksai - QUEBEC CITY, CA
March 17-21 - SXSW - AUSTIN TX

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

[video] Handsome Furs - "A Great Decision" (New Song)

Handsome Furs showcase new song!

Originally posted over at Snakes Got A Blog, Handsome Furs were filmed performing a new song "A Great Decision" at Lee's Palace (Toronto, Ontario) on December 5, 2009. After conquering the world through extensive touring/sight seeing, I'd be surprised if this is the only new tune the band has written since Face Control. I can only imagine how great the studio cut will sound...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

[reminder] Spoon @ Crystal Ballroom (12-11-2009)

photo cred: Sandy Carson
Spoon to play Portland this Friday

For those in the Pacific Northwest who are wanting a sneak peak at Spoon's upcoming album Transference (to be released January 19, 2010), the band just so happens to be playing in Portland this Friday at the Crystal Ballroom. Listeners are bound to hear a few new tunes in the mix should they attend. Tickets are still on sale (here) for $33 after all the bullshit Ticketmaster surcharges. Opening for Spoon is Austin's very own Black Joe Lewis, complete with his big brass band. For those unfamiliar with this pairing of acts, expect the incorporation of horns during songs like "Underdog," "Jonathan Fisk," and "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb."

This show is the week finale for a series of concerts put on by local Portland radio station 94.7 fm. Dubbed the "December to Remember," the lineup this week at the Crystal Ballroom has been insane! Check out the list of shows below.

12-7 (Monday) - Passion Pit w/ Hockey
12-8 (Tuesday) - Metric w/ Band of Skulls
12-9 (Wednesday) - The Bravery w/ Airborne Toxic Event
12-10 (Thursday) - Vampire Weekend w/ White Rabbits
12-11 (Friday) Spoon w/ Black Joe Lewis

Friday, December 4, 2009

[news] Wolf Parade - LP #3

Wolf Parade back in the studio

Officially news (via Wolf Parade fan-site) according to Arlen Thompson, Wolf Parade are back in the studio recording the band's third LP. Hopefully the band stays on track and makes the "early spring" release goal. Here's what what was said:
The record is going well. We’re just starting songwriting. We’ll be in the studio tracking at Hotel2Tango at the end of February and are trying to have the record finished by early spring.
In other news, Spencer Krug is set to release the highly anticipated Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums through his newest vehicle Moonface. Expect the album to drop January 26 via Jagjaguwar.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

[new music] Spoon - Transference Pre-Order

Pre-Order ASAP and Receive T-Shirt Bundle

Keep the Spoon news coming! You can now pre-order a copy of Spoon's upcoming album Transference and receive a special edition t-shirt (see above). The album drops January 19, 2010. Check out prices below for each package:

Pre-Order :: CD [$13]
Pre-Order :: LP [$15]
Pre-Order :: CD + T-shirt [$30]
Pre-Order :: LP + T-shirt [$32]

[mp3] Spoon - "Japanese Cigaratte Case" December Bonus Track

In the month of December, Spoon offers up another bonus track. Back in June, we were treated with a demo version of "Japanese Cigarette Case," however it seems this song took many tries before the flamenco guitar-style became the standard. Check out this demo version entitled "Japanese Cigarette Case (delay song)."

Oh, and if you haven't heard, Spoon's first single off their new album Transference was released today. Grab the digital single for "Written In Reverse" here.

MP3: Spoon - "Japanese Cigarette Case" (delay song demo)
(December Bonus Track)