Thursday, August 31, 2006

Summer Swan Songs

Listing to the car radio with Grace, as she anxiously hit all the presets, looking for something she’d enjoy, I realized how little major label “product” I get in an average month. But I also realized how that didn’t bother me all that much, since most of what I hear on the radio, promoted so heavily by the big bucks hustlers, is drek I wouldn’t want to listen to anyway (though it might fetch better trade-in value…) I’m happy on my little indie island…

1. PORTER BLOCK – Suburban Sprawl (Engine Room Recordings)
Intended for another Post writer, but sent to my address (the paper doesn’t forward material sent to me at the DC office, and my editor told me I need not forward other writers’ packages sent to me. I do, however, attempt to tell the publicists that the material went to the wrong place). Touted as having a Fountains of Wayne vibe, tho' I haven't been gripped in such a manner yet.
2. JONAH SMITH – S/T (Relix)
On first impresssion, he reminded me of a bunch of good people – The Band, Van Morrison, John Hiatt. Now I have to return and see if he’s got his own tales to tell.
3. RAY MONTAGNE – Till The Sun Turns Black (RCA)
4. TONY JOE WHITE – Uncovered (Swamp)
Guest spots with J.J. Cale, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Michael McDonald and Waylon Jennings.
5. MEAT LOAF – It’s All Coming Back to Me Now (Virgin)
He’s back…! And there’s gonna be an (attempt at a) Bat Out of Hell revival, including a concert recorded at Royal Albert Hall, and an NYC stand that hipsters will no doubt fight to get into so they can stand in the back and nod in knowing post-ironic amusement.
6. PETER WALKER – Young Gravity (Dangerbird Music)
7. COLOUR REVOLT – S/T (Foxxe in a Box)
A few of the song titles on this 6-track EP give me pause – “Blood in Your Mouth,” “Our Homes are Graves” - but the PR sticker, from the guys I trust at Team Clermont, compares the band to Modest Mouse and Radiohead, so I have some hope.
8. CONFETTI – original motion picture soundtrack (Sanctuary)
I like the big brassy pop songs – Paul Anka doing “Almost Like Being in Love” – am intrigued by Alison Moyet’s version of the hoary chestnut “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life” and Nina Simone song entitled “Marriage is for Old Folks.”
9. SUMMER HYMNS – Backward Masks (Misra)
Compared to Mercury Rev and Yo La Tengo.
10. The SUMMER OBSESSION – This Is Where You Belong (Virgin)
Official release duplicate of a cardboard cover advance I got some weeks ago.

11. VARIOUS ARTISTS – CMJ New Music sampler
I subscribed to the magazine months ago; took a long time to get this issue, though. While CMJ was one of the early mags smart enough to include a CD with each issue, they have been eclipsed, in terms of what I want to hear, by Paste. But CMJ is a bit more fun to read, and keeps me in touch with styles that I wouldn't hear otherwise.
12. OUTKAST – Idlewild (LaFace)
Saw just a snippet of the video, but bought it ‘cause I trust these guys to make it worthwhile. Great lenticular cover, too.
Bought the first CD and liked it OK, then heard a track from this new one on the radio last week (it was either FUV in NYC or XPN in Philly, neither of which counts in my usual ‘radio sucks’ rants) and was reminded that I like ‘em. I haven’t cracked the shrinkwrap yet, and now I see that the Universal promo-only MPE download site is offering all the tracks for free – if I can only figure out how to work the damn thing. Hmmm…but this CD only cost $7.00 and comes with a DVD bonus (damn bonuses!). Whatever will I do?
14. DURAN DURAN – Night Versions (EMI-Capitol)
A throwback from the visit to Cape May in early August, which I forgot to include. Found it at an antiques shop for $6 in great condition, includes the die-cut slip case and even the extra enhanced CD (which you were supposed to use to access material at a web site, probably long dormant, but still…). Eleven pumped-up dance mixes of Duran Duran hits. Retro nirvana!

Local Boys Making Good:
15. EXIT CLOV – Respond Respond (Livewire)
Six tracks from the upcoming EP. The band is led by twin sisters Emily and Susan and sings one song called “Communist BBQ.” Out October 10th.
16. CARBON LEAF – Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat (Vanguard)
Engaging Celtic-tinged rock. The band is soon to be touring with Matt Nathanson – a show well worth checking out.
17. OVER IT – Step Outside of Yourself (Virgin)
Local boys from Alexandria, VA have moved on to the left coast and got a deal with a major.

18. TOM PETTY – Highway Companion (American Recordings)
19. DEM FRANCHIZE BOYS – On Top of Our Game (Virgin)
I generally don’t get, request, or even care about much hardcore hip-hop. Let’s face it – white suburban moms are not the target market. But since the PR made it sound like it had a bit more melody and sense of humor than most, I asked her to send it along. It also came with 50+ pages of photocopied press clips (poor interns!) which gave me a chance to see samples of the music press for an area in which I’m far out of the loop. That’s where I read a review that tells me DFB is like Too Live Crew, but not as clever. Uh-oh…

Here’s a slew I meant to record right after the Warped tour show on August 11th.
20. GREEN DAY – International Superhits! (Reprise)
Grace has almost completed her full GD collection, and I helped with this contribution from the CD trade-in store.
21.YEAH YEAH YEAHS – Show Your Bones (Interscope)
This month’s $5.99 queue from

22. HELLOGOODBYE – Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! (Drive-Thru)
Grace bought her copy online so that she could get the bonus – a color-it-yourself fuzzy poster. Then, I saw it was on sale at Best Buy for $7.99 with a bonus 25-minute DVD. So I bought one, figuring I could trade in the duplicate or have her sell it, cut-rate, to a friend, essentially buying just the video.
I still hate the exclusive bonus idea and lately I have seen a bunch of them. One that burned me – the new Todd Snider CD, with a bonus disc interview conducted by Nanci Griffith, plus Todd and Nanci dueting on some songs. Will I really have to buy the album again for that? If I can find it online, I will feel fully justified in downloading it, and I think Todd would understand.
23. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Drive-Thru Records Sampler
A nice little freebie, tucked inside the HelloGoodbye CD.
24. The ELANORS – Movements (Parosol)
Opened for Husky Rescue at Jammin Java on Wednesday night and I really liked their set.
I wrote a preview for the Post, but concentrated on Husky Rescue 'cause I couldn't find Elanors info. but they have a grand, melodic sound in the Coldplay school. Hope to cover them the next time they come through.

25.MOZELLA – I Will (Maverick)
Touring with Sierra Swan as part of the “Unplugged and Uncorked” tour, with wine-tasting included.
Another Post preview.
26. PATRICK PORTER – Die Wandaland EP (Greyday Records)
Lightwight, bt fun and came with what now passes for swag - a cute button! That’s my new collection obsession – band buttons, preferably the 1-inch size, even better in sets of coordinated styles.
27. BARTON CARROLL – Love &War (Skybucket Records)
RIYD (it says here): Richards Thompson and Buckner, Gillian Welch and Townes Van Zandt.
28. BOB SCHNEIDER – The Californian
He’s coming to Jammin Java in coming months, and I hear he does a great show, so time to get up to speed. I really liked the “Lonelyland” CD.
29. GRADA – Endevour (Compass)
30. PAUL BRILL – Harpooner (Scarlet Shame Records)

31. RONNIE BAKER – S/T (BNT Records)
“Through all the setbacks I just kept on going because I think there has to be a reason that God gave me this talent.” I worry when people claim that God is forcing their hand. That’s how the President operates and we see what kind of mess that’s turned out to be. Tracks named “Urban Cowboy Wanna Be” and “Hard Rockin’ Rebel” do not call to me.
32. TURN OFF THE STARS – S/T (Credential)
PR compares this Toronto quartet to the Verve and Travis, but I didn’t hear anything as dramatic as the former or as charming as the latter.
33. PETER BRADLEY ADAMS – Gather Up (Mouse in the Moon Records)
Was once part of the duo eastmountainsouth, now solo, and I have to admit, I miss that second voice. He was at Jammin Java on September 1st.

34. The SOUNDS – Dying to Say This to You (New Line)
One of the nice things about getting press credentials to the Warped tour is that the press office lets the various labels know who’s attending as press. There was a brief flurry of emails in the days before the show from reps for younger bands, asking if I’d care to check ‘em out. I asked for the Sounds in that context, but missed their show as they had one of the earliest set times, and we arrived about 90 minutes after the day began (still, we were there more than 8 hours!). Now the sexy blonde singer is all over the video channels as a member of the band doing the “Snakes on a Plane” song.
35. EELS – Live at Town Hall (Vagrant)
36. FUTUREHEADS – News and Tributes
The Vagrant merchandise booth was selling some of its new and slightly older releases for a mere $5 each, so I had to get these two. The Eels disc has been on my Watch List for a while, while the Futureheads are a band I haven’t heard but have heard a lot about.
VARIOUS ARTISTS free samplers:
37. Suretown Summer Slam
A nice collection, with new and unreleased tracks from The Cure, Weezer, Pink Spiders and others.
38. Vagrant Summer Tour Sampler
39. Epitaph
Included a Bouncing Souls sticker.
40. Victory Records Presents Catch Twenty Two: Permanent Revolution
Permanent Vacation is featured on the cover, as if the CD is all theirs, but it also includes Aiden, Silverstein and others in the Rock and Mosh categories (as the label tells it).

YTD Total: 520

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Warped Tour, part one - Axes and Asses

So, here's the thing -
I love being in the photo pit, and I took over 500 pictures at the Warped Tour stop at Nissan Pavilion, outside DC. But sometimes I look for a different angle and I've become (just a little bit, honestly!) fascinated with the rear view of the boys onstage.
So here are some butt shots from the show...I'll tell you who's who at the end (so to say!).

The butts in question belong to:
A=Matt Friction, of the Pink Spiders
B = Forrest, of hellogoodbye
C=Jared Leto, of 30 Seconds to Mars

Once I got into the close-up mode, I also became fascinated with the performers' guitars. so here's a few of those shots, too:

These guitars belong to:
A=Joan Jett
B = guitarist in Joan Jett's Blackhearts
C=Forrest, again
D=Jared Leto, again

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Let's Talk About Procrastination....tomorrow

Okay, I've been really bad. And I'm behind. And I need to do a Warped wrap-up - with lots of groovy pictures. So let's laundry list for now and I promise to be better soon.

CD store trade-in:
1. SCRITTI POLITTI – White Bread Black Beer (Nonesuch)
I love Green Gartside’s voice, and have kept in touch with his stuff since back in the glory days of “The Word Girl” and “Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)” and this one seems like a return to those golden days. I hope it lives up to the enjoyment of its first few listens.
A clearance table gift for my mom and brother, both of whom are big fans of Broadway show tunes (I’ve grown less fond of all but the classics and Sondheim in all his efforts).
3. RADIOHEAD – My Iron Lung (Capitol)
I saw this 8-track EP on a new releases list recently, so I was excited to find it at the trade-in store. But the copyright date is a few years old, and it’s clearly an extended single from the past. What gives?
Do I have this already? Couldn’t risk missing out, so I grabbed it.
5. VARIOUS ARTISTS - Q Covered: The Eighties
6. WILLIAM SHATNER – The Transformed Man (Creation)
I’m a victim of the recent commercials for the upcoming Shatner roast, combined my fond (?) memories of his version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”
7. WILLIE NELSON – You Don’t Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker free sampler
MIDDLE DISTANCE RUNNER – 3 song free sampler
I’m gonna stop counting this band’s CDs in the YTD countdown ‘cause I keep picking them up whenever I see them in the freebies pile. I like the way this band releases customized promo discs for upcoming gigs. Somebody’s got a talent for marketing.

8.The SLATS – Boom Patrol (Latest Flame)
9. TOWERS OF LONDON – Blood Sweat & Towers (TVT)
10.VARIOUS ARTISTS – Rip This: Rockin The Summer sampler (TVT)
11. BRETT DENNEN – So Much More (Dualtone)
12. The KLEZMATICS – Wonder Wheel: Lyrics by Woody Guthrie (Jewish Music Group)
13. The RECEIVER – Decades (Stunning Models On Display)
14. VIRGINIA COALITION – Live at the 9:30 Club (Bluhammock Music)
15. GRIDDLE- Klimty Favela (Your Permanent Records)

16. STEVIN (sic) McNAMARA – Yogitar (Etherean Music)
Terry brought this home for me from recent travels. The title is silly, the cover worse (a graphic that morphs a man in meditative pose with a huge guitar), but Terry heard it as in-store music and really liked it. Gentle ambient sound.
17. DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE – Directions (DVD)
18. DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE – You Can Play These Songs with Chords (Barsuk Records)
19. DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE – We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes (Barsuk Records)
Terry’s birthday resulted in his getting some background music and a new video collection from one of his favorite (albeit recently discovered) bands.

20. TODD SNIDER – The Devil You Know (New Door)
When the song “You Got Away with It (Tale of Two Frat Brothers)” begins, it sounds like a generic tale of snotty rich boys behaving badly, but subtle references in later verses – to Florida and Camp David – reveal that it’s a slap against our Pretender-in-Chief. Great stuff from a great
21. EXIT CLOV – The “Jolly Roget Sessions”
Local boys on the move.
22. TRACHTENBURG FAMILY SLIDESHOW PLAYERS – Off and On Broadway (Sarathan Records DVD)
23. MONSTERS ARE WAITING – Fascination (?)
24. SILVERSUN PICKUPS – Carnavas (Dangerbird)
Kind of a Pixies vibe. Coming to the IOTA in October. I’m psyched.
25. VIENNA TENG – Dreaming Through the Noise (Zoe/Rounders)
26. MARY LEE’S CORVETTE – Love Loss & Lunacy
Played locally recently.

27. JENNY BOYLE – Life in Mosiac (self-released)
28. ASHTON ALLEN – Dewdrops (Livewire)
Coming to Jammin’ Java September 1st.

29. GOVT. MULE – High & Mighty (ATO)
Out August 22nd.
30. IMA ROBOT – Monument to the Masses (Virgin)
Out September 19th.
31. GRIDDLE – Klimty Favela
32. The SUMMER OBSESSION – This Is Where You Belong (Virgin)
Out August 29th.
33. BRIDGES AND POWERLINES – S/T (self-released)
Out September 26th.
34. LADYFINGER (NE) – Heavy Hands (Saddle Creek)
Out September 26th

YTD Total: 480