Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Album Review: These United States – Crimes

I haven’t had the pleasure of his acquaintance for all that long, but ever since we met I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Jesse Elliott has his finger on a pulse the rest of us haven’t quite cottoned onto yet. That sense of otherworldly wisdom isn’t merely confined to conversations with the good sir, either. The music of Elliott’s These United States serves as a testament to what he, and the other madcap members of TUS, knows, and what the rest of us are still searching for. The missing link, perhaps? Yes, that’s probably overdoing it just a shade, but boiling it down to bare-bones basics this is a band that knows how to make a damn fine album. Heck, make that two damn fine albums. You see, they only just released their debut mere months ago, but I guess the band just figured there’s no harm in releasing another one.

Mostly DC-based These United States already impressed me with their first album, A Picture Of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden, which I sure do love a whole lot, but I’d opine that Crimes, in addition to being way less of a mouthful to say, one-ups its predecessor musically-speaking. Whereas A Picture… was a bit more folkily floaty and ethereal (and yes, too fleeting), Crimes is more rooted in earthly ways and has a smidge more of the rocking going on (and it’s longer!). There’s also a lot of this sort of feel of olde time rusticity draped across the duration of the album, as if we were all gathered round on someone’s front porch, breathing slightly-smoky air and watching the sun dip into the horizon while the sky vibrantly burns violet and peach, drinking moonshine by the bottle and hootin’ and hollerin’ until dawn.

Naturally, it’s a dandydoo of a record from start to finish, but I do have a few songs that have found themselves given favorite status. My (current) favorite track, and in my mind one of These United State’s absolute best songs to date, “Study the Moon”, is one of Elliott’s finest dreamy, silken, dew-heavy lyrical spider webs (“According to the big blue ox/I should just look up, Paul”), backed by gentle guitars immediately conjuring up a dark, deeply starred country night. My other (current) favorite, “Those Low Country Girls”, conjures up the ghost of one of my favorite Skynyrd songs, “Gimme Three Steps” (minus the gun-toting boyfriend, of course). It’s short, sweet, sassy, and like the band itself it’s immediately irresistible. And lest I forget, Crimes has already produced a bona fide radio hit (at least, I sure do hear it on WOXY all the time), the rambling, catchy as all get-out romp known as “Get Yourself Home (In Search of the Mistress Whose Kisses Are Famous)”. “It’s a wicked world,” forsooths the good Mr. Elliott, and how right he is. But These United States has made it a bit more enjoyable, and, dare I even say it, a wee bit more wicked.



Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Broken Social Scene: In Pictures

By now you've more than likely ascertained, being the smartypants that you are, that my dear partner and I had a pair of rather enjoyable evenings while taking in our respective Broken Social Scene shows. We decided to share with you some snaps from our show, but since Chris is still figuring out his fancy new camera, most of the shots below come from the 10/21 show at Toad's Place here in lovely Richmond.

The first six pictures were taken from my fabulous bird's eye vantage point in the exceedingly busy balcony at Toad's, while the last two come to you straight from the State in good old Northern Virginny.

We do so hope you will enjoy the photos.





































































































































[photos by Megan Petty and Chris Daly]

Live Review: Broken Social Scene @ Toad's Place, October 21

There are moments, relatively few and far between thankfully, where there appears a lapse in my musical cache so glaring that I cannot help but hang my head in shame. Let's just say that my never having seen Broken Social Scene live until this past Tuesday night can definitely be added to that small, but rather horrifying, list. It's true, friends, yours truly has gone years and years and years without ever once seeing one of Canada's most delightful musical exports (this statement actually applies to several Canadian bands, but one embarassing oversight at a time, eh?).

I was mightily impressed with both the headliners and their opening band, Land of Talk, yet another byproduct of BSS members (Liz Powell, for one). Liz also held her own as the only lady in the current BSS touring machine (and the lady plays a mean guitar). I've been hearing a lot of Land of Talk on WOXY these days, and for good reason: they're pretty darn good, a fact that becomes even more evident when seeing them live.

But BSS, oh my, BSS was splendid, sublime, superb, sensational, and pretty much any other positive adjective beginning with the letter "s" (or any other letter, for that matter). Because I am old, I left after about an hour and a half of the set, but I have it on good authority that the band was cranking out song after song until nearly 1:30 in the morning. On a Tuesday, no less. It takes a special band indeed to play for so long, at least such has been my experience. Most bands consider it a job well done to play for over an hour (naturally, exceptions are made for newer bands with less material to pull from). But no, not BSS. They delighted Richmond with a hearty mix of BSS songs and those of BSS offshoots, like several selections from Brendan Canning's new album (a favorite around these parts, you know). During the course of the set, the band seemed incredibly and honestly touched at how receptive and enthusiastic the crowd was, and played with smiles on their faces and a spritely spring in their collective step. I found their energy contagious (though not enough, sadly, to keep me around for the whole set) and their performance as a whole captivating.

While it might have taken me years to finally get my ass to a Broken Social Scene show, I've got to say this was a good one to have as my first. It was pretty much flawless, full of mirth and merriment, and I can now say I am safely ensconced among the plentiful ranks of BSS devotees. Come back soon, friends.

[photo by Megan Petty]

Halloweekend with Roky Erickson & the Black Angels

In my humble opinion, there is nothing more appealing this Halloween weekend, trick-or-treating be damned, than the psychedelia-laced spectacle awaiting you supremely lucky Left Coast-ians: five (count 'em, five!) shows starring the one and only Roky Erickson and the one and only Black Angels (who, if you've been following us at all this year know them as one of my oh-so favorites).

The mini-tour kicks off this very evening at Seattle's Showbox, and wraps up Sunday, November 2nd as a two-night stand at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall. If I had planned things a little better, this tour would have made quite the fantastic vacation, but hey, at least all you local folks can go out and have a rip-roaring time for me. I mean, let's think about this for a quick moment, shall we? In one evening you can see not only one of the best live bands out there today, but the man, the legend, Roky Erickson, who along with the rest of his 13th Floor Elevators continues to inspire a new generation of countless worshippers of hazy, crazy noise.

Word on the street is that not only will my beloved Black Angels be opening for Mr. Erickson, but acting as his band during his set. If you're in any of the cities on this tour, I'd have to call this show a no-brainer. As in, if you're not at the show, your brain must have been eaten by flesh-eating zombies that are in the process of taking over the world. Here are those dates, in full:


Oct 28 @

The Showbox - Seattle, WA

Oct 29 @

Wonder Ballroom - Portland, OR

Oct 31 @

El Rey - Los Angeles, CA

Nov 01 @

Great American Music Hall - San Francisco, CA

Nov 02 @

Great American Music Hall - San Francisco, CA

Friday, October 24, 2008

Live Review: Hot Chip @ 9:30 Club, October 8

I'm pretty sure I could see Hot Chip live every night for an entire month without getting bored. That might not seem like much of a declaration, but coming from a rather fickle Gemini notorious for bouts of boredom it's quite a statement. After all, it's not often that I'm willing to make the rush hour drive to DC during the middle of the week, but for Hot Chip the drive is but a small price to pay. My third Hot Chip show (and second at the 9:30 Club) thus far was as breathtaking as the first, as exciting as the second, and quite possibly the best of the three.

Every Hot Chip show I've had the pleasure of attending, be it in the friendly confines of the 9:30 or the blazing heat of the California desert, has had the same feel; the pre-show air has been crackling with excitement, alive with anticipation. Not only that, but people seem genuinely happy at Hot Chip events. I know I'm happy to see them, and it's nice to feel like others share that joy.

The stage configuration proved to be a complete opposite to my first Hot Chip show at the club. Instead of that initial show's lineup of Hot Chip-ians in a row, with their respective Casios and other electronic aides in front of them, tonight as at Coachella the band was set up in a more standard format, that is to say with plenty of instruments and plenty of room to bound and dance all over the stage.

In terms of the show itself, well, I might be blinded by my love of Hot Chip here but I don't think it possible for them to have been much better than they were. From the ferocity of the opening "One Pure Thought" to the cheekily introduced ("this is one some people might know") crowd favorite "Over & Over" to the fantastic end mashup of the Sinead O'Connor smash "Nothing Compares 2 U" with the band's own slow jam "In the Privacy of Our Love" the band romped their way through it all with aplomb and sizzle. Throw in a wicked new track (possibly called "Artifacts") and the inclusion of one of my all-time favorites "Down With Prince" and you've got all the ingredients you might need for a perfect night on the dancefloor. And I'm sure I've said it before, but really, any band that uses the lyric "I'm only going to Heaven if it feels like Hell/I'm only going to Heaven if it tastes like caramel" is a winner. I left the 9:30 safe in the knowledge that Hot Chip had just put on one of my favorite sets of the year.

I'd be willing to go out on a limb and call Hot Chip one of the best damn live bands on the planet right about now. Sure, they do a little more knob-twiddling than the other bands that get my blood pumping, but I'm hard-pressed to think of a band that has the sheer delight factor that Hot Chip does. If it's a smile your face is in need of, Hot Chip might just be the perfect prescription.

[photo by Megan Petty]

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Untitled Interview #14: Starring Oli Walker (Mississippi Witch)

I hope by now, dear friends, that you trust my judgment somewhat. So when I tell you (again) how much I love that rapscallion pair of ex-Pat Yanks who now call the UK home known as Mississippi Witch, I would hope you would spare a moment (or several) to check them out. The boys of the Witch are a roustabout duo, up to no good in the best possible way. The music they make is utterly divine, saturated with the rhythms of the Deep South and the space oddities of the deserts of the Wild West. How they make such a sweet, terrifying, sensational racket with only two of them is a marvel indeed.

I had the good pleasure of twisting the arm of Oli Walker, the vocal/guitar half of Mississippi Witch, into answering these here questions of mine. He’s a nice boy, and smart, too (see: Beatles vs. Stones). Oh, and he’s got a decent set of pipes, as well. I do hope that the Witch brings their aural hurricane over to these shores sooner rather than later.

Les Enfants Terribles: How the hell are you?
Oli Walker: Good thanks.

LET: What was the last song you listened to?
OW: “Under my Thumb” - Rolling Stones.

LET: Playing music is ___
OW: Better played between 12 and 3.

LET: What album most made you realize that you wanted to make music?
OW: Hot Rocks - Rolling Stones.

LET: Beatles or Stones?
OW: The Stones! I'll take this opportunity to quote Keith - "I'm Sagittarius, half man, half horse with a license to shit in the street.”

LET: What're your top 5 albums (of ever, of this week, of this minute)?
OW: Eeeeer, in no particular order -
Sticky Fingers - Rolling Stones
The Doors - The Doors
Led Zeppelin lll
Electric Lady Land - Jimi Hendrix
Harvest - Neil Young

LET: Favorite music-related movie?
OW: The Kids are Alright.

LET: What city or venue would you like to play, but haven't yet been to?
OW: Ohio and New Zealand, anywhere really. I think America is where we need to be…

LET: Half-full or half-empty?
OW: There's always more where that came from.

LET: What do you miss most about life in the US of A?
OW: The desert, steak and shrimp, Van Nuys…

LET: Apart from your band, which of your peers do you think is making the best music these days?
OW: I don’t hear much of what’s going on nowadays, but Queens of the Stone Age, Raising Sand (Robert Plant/Alison Krauss), Tom Waits…

LET: What's your favorite track on Black Gamble?
OW: “Just For Roosevelt”, it was the first song we did and sums up the state of mind of the band at the time…

LET: What's the first thing you think when you wake up?
OW: Mississippi Witch, and must get bigger amps.

LET: How do you settle band arguments?
OW: We only see each other when we play or record so we just do what we do, I don’t have any control over it, and neither does Dan, we just play.

LET: The greatest record store in the world is:
OW: I wish I knew, I’m all for record stores, I can’t find any good ones…

LET: How will you be celebrating Halloween this year?
OW: With a big fire and some chalk.

LET: What's the longest flight you've ever been on, and where were you going?
OW: 12 hours or so, California - London.

LET: Shaken or stirred?
OW: Both…

LET: If you weren't in a band, you'd be:
OW: I have no idea, I don’t think there was ever anything else I could do, so I'd be in trouble. Probably wondering round with a dog and a strange look on me face…

LET: Best song ever written?
OW: That’s a tricky one, I'll just say “House of the Rising Sun” – as done by The Animals.

So Long, Farewell: The Long Blondes

Mondays are crap enough as it is, but they're made even worse when one hears sad news. The news that made me glum yesterday involves those saucy nouveau wavers the Long Blondes, who made some of the smartest, sassiest tunes around. Here's the official word from their Myspace blog:

"
We have decided to call it a day.

The main reason for this is that I suffered from a stroke in June and unfortunately I do not know when / if I will be well enough to play guitar again.

On behalf of the band I'd like to say a big thank you to anyone who ever came to one of our shows, bought one of our records or danced to one of our songs in a club. Thank you, if it wasn't for you the whole thing would have been pointless.

Finally on a personal note, thanks for all your well wishing messages.

Dorian xxx"

While the news of the split is definitely a bummer, we here at LET would like to wish Dorian the best of health, and best wishes for all the band's future endeavors. I'm really happy I got to see them live, but for those of you who didn't, there's two darned fine albums to listen to over and over. And videos to watch, like this one below, for "Guilt".


Live Review: Darker My Love @ 9:30 Club, September 22

Teensy little confession here: I was kinda looking forward to seeing Darker My Love more than the band they were opening for. And that’s despite the fact that the Dandy Warhols has been one of my favorite live bands for over ten years now. But something about this group of dudes had me all sorts of fascinated and entranced, and I was counting the days til I could finally have an in-person experience with their sonic psych-outs and killer retro-heavy, rip-roaring riffs.

The day, September 22, finally arrived. After the weekend up in the Catskills for All Tomorrow’s Parties, I somehow summoned up a few more hours’ worth of energy and managed to keep awake for the highly-anticipated Darker My Love set. And may I just say, I sure am glad I did.

It was a set that flashed before my eyes and ears so briefly, and by the time it was over I was craving more, desperately in need of another fix. The projector in the balcony near me displayed swirling liquid, and the simple yet effective idea was a perfect backdrop to Darker My Love’s all over the place sound and tendency to late-60s homages. The band was superb, both affable in banter and impressive in performance. Listening to the increasingly appreciative noise coming from the huge crowd, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one with those thoughts.

The night was made for me as soon as the first notes of “Two Ways Out” filled the air, but the entire set was dynamite. The sharp, attention-grabbing haze of “Talking Words” was particularly excellent as well, but the same can be said for pretty much every other song Darker My Love undertook. It was a blinding flash of brilliance, and it was over far too soon. They and their aural bliss made me forget how tired (and hungover) I was, and anytime a band can do that you know they’ve gotta be pretty darned fantastic. If you haven’t quite figured it out yet, go see Darker My Love. As many times as you possibly can. They’re touring again towards the end of the year, and you can bet your sweet ass I’ll be there. I hope you will be, too.

[photo by Timothy Norris, via the band’s Myspace]

Monday, October 20, 2008

Whither Festivus: CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival

It’s at times like these that I really long for a life of leisure, because it’s once again time for that giant of a festival known as CMJ, this year taking place in NYC from October 21st-25th. You know, that days-long festival of all things music, whirlwind blurs of days crammed full of bands, bands, and more bands. I’ve wanted to go for years, and still haven’t made it, but for those of you who are attending this year, you’re in for many a treat.

I’m seriously drooling over the schedule this year. Take a deep breath before reading the list below, because it’s exhausting. Scheduled to appear in some form at CMJ this year:

(k)nights On Earth * 1090 Club * 13ghosts * 2AM Club * 2manydjs * 30H3! * 77 Klash * 88-Keys * A BIG YES and a small no * A Brief Smile * A Faulty Chromosome * A Place to Bury Strangers * A. Pinks * Aa * Aaron LaCrate * Aaron Lee Tasjan * Aaron Thomas * The Abdomen * Abigail Warchild * Aceyalone * Adam Heldring * Adept * Aderbat * Adventure * Afghan Raiders * Agallah * Aggrolites * AIDS Wolf * AK-1200 * Akimbo * Akudama * Al James The Unfazed * Al James the Unfazed and Tenlons Fort * The Albertans * Alex Diaz y Son de la Calle * Alex English * Alex English * ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE * Ali Eskandarian * Ali Vegas * Alina Simone * All The Saints * The Alright Ma's * Amanda Diva (host) * Amazing Baby * Ambulance LTD * America's Sweetheart * The Amity Front * Amy Miles * An Albatross * An American Chinese * An Horse * Andrea Gibson * Andrew Collberg * Andrew Gerardi Band * Andrew Gibson * Andrew Hoover * Ane Brun * Animal Farm featuring Mic Crenshaw * Animal Hands * Animate Objects * Annie Lynch and the Beekeepers * Annuals * Another Black Day * The Answer * Anthony Green * Apache Beat * Ape School * The Apes * Apollo Heights * Apollo Run * Arabian Prince * Arbouretum * Ari Gold * Ari Up and the True Warriors * Arkadelphia * Arms * Army Navy * Arsonists Get All The Girls * The Art of Shooting * Article A * Arum Rae * As Tall As Lions * As Tall As Lions * Asa Ransom * Au * Au * Audrye Sessions * Auntkeke * Autodrone * Autovaughn * Averkiou * Aviette * Awesome New Republic * The Awkward Stage * Ayurveda * B.O.B. * Backseat Goodbye * Bad Veins * Bailiff * Bamboo Shoots * Bang Bang Eche * Barton Carroll * Battle Circus * Bazaar Royale * Beach House * Bear Hands * Bear In Heaven * Bear Number 141 * Bearsuit * Bedtyme357 * Bel Air * Bell * The Belleville Outfit * Ben Arnold * Ben Burgess Band * Ben Carroll * Ben Weaver * Benji Cossa * Best Friends Forever * Best Fwends * Beyondo * Big Ears & Courage * Big Gunz * Bill Mike Band * Biodesel M02 DJ Tucci * Bird To Prey * Bird To Prey * Birds of Maya * Bisc 1 * BISON b.c. * The Black & White Years * Black Clouds * The Black Hollies * Black Ice * Black Joe Lewis * Black Milk * Black Taxi * Blackmarket * Blackstrap * Blind Pilot * Blind Pilot * Blitz The Ambassador * The Blizzards * Blonde Acid Clut * Bloodgroup * The Blooms * Blu & Mainframe (as Johnson & Johnson) * Blue Album Group * The Blue Van * BM Linx * Boat People * The Boat People * Bodega Girls * Bomb The Bass * Bonne Aparte * Bottle Up & Go * The Bowmans * The Box Social * Boy Eats Drum Machine * Boy Eats Drum Machine * Boy Genius * Brak * Breaking Laces * Brent Amaker and the Rodeo * Bret Mosley * Bridges and Powerlines * Brighton MA * The Broadfield Marchers * Broken Social Scene * The Broken West * The Bronx * The Bronzed Chorus * Brooke Waggoner * The Brother Kite * The Brought Low * Brown Dog Jonez * Brown Dog Jonez * Brown Shoe * Bryan Scary and The Shredding Tears * Buddahead * Buddy * Build * Bumblebeez * Bury Your Dead * Cactus's * Cadence * Caitlin Moe * Caitlin Rose * Cale Parks * California King * Cameron Matthews * Canada * Canasta * The Canon Logic * Capitol K * The Capstan Shafts * Captain Coconut * Carcrashlander * Carlon * Carlotta * Carolyn Alroy * The Carps * The Carribean * Cars Can Be Blue * Casiokids * The Cassidy Project * Castanets * Catalepsy * Catcall * Cause Co-motion! * Cereal Killa * Chachi & Trenton Street Rockers * Chairlift * Chairlift * Chana Rothman * Change The Station * The Chapin Sisters * Chappo * Charles Burst * Charles Hamilton * Charlie Louvin * Charlie Mars * Charlie Pickett * Charm City Devils * Che Grand * Check Out the Tits on Tituba * Cheeseburger * Cherry S/T * Chester French * Chester French * Chewing Pics * Child Bite * Children * Chris Abad * Chris Bathgate * Chris Bergson * Chris Brokaw * Chris Leo's Vague Angels * Chris Mills * Chris Nathan * Chris Pureka * Christopher Barnes * Chuck E Costa * Cinema Cinema * City Center * Classixx * Clearview * Cloud 9 * Cloud Cult (Acoustic) * The Coast * The Coathangers * Coheed & Cambria * Cola Freaks * Colin Smith * Collin Monroe * Comic Book Heroes * Company of Thieves * Continental Divide * The Contrast * The Cool and Deadly * Cool Kids * Cordero * Cory Chisel * Cory Chisel & the Wandering Souls * Cotton Jones * The Crash Motive * The Cringe * Crocodiles * Crystal Antlers * Crystal Castles * Crystal Stilts * Cuchillo * Cut Off Your Hands * CYNE (DJ set) * Dallas Austin * Dam Funk * Dan Craig * Dan Evans * Dan Torres * Dances With White Girls * Daniel Merriweather * Dara * Darkest Hour * Dashah * Dave Doobinin * Dave Smallen * David Banner * DD/MM/YY * Dead Heart Bloom * Dead Leaf Echo * Dead Men Dreaming * Dead Prez * Deadbeat Darling * Deanna Devore * Dear Everything * Dear Thief * The Dears * Deastro * Death Vessel * Deerhoof * Del McCoury Band * Delays * Dellacane * Delta Fiasco * The Delta Spirit * Delta Spirit * Dent May * Depedro * The Depreciation Guild * Designer Drugs * Device * Devlin and Darko * Dexter Romweber Duo * Die! Die! Die! * Dieselboy * Dimitry!!! * Dirty Fuzz * Distraction * Diz Gibran * Dj Aaron Axelsen * DJ Amylulita * Dj Andre Allen Anjos * DJ Babu * DJ Beverly Bond * DJ Boo * DJ Boo * DJ Dub Defender * DJ Hanukkah Miracle * DJ Justin Carter * DJ Marcelo Cunning * Dj Mike Dextro * DJ Parler * DJ Pumpkin Patch * DJ Rekha * DJ Rekha * DJ Ruckus * DJ Skeletons * DJ Soulscape * DJ Spinna * DJ Sucio Smash * DJ Sugarfree * DJ Wonder * Djs invisible Kid * DJs Jake D and Boyhollow * DJs Mick Boogie & Benzi * DJs Nickodemus & OBaH * DMBQ * DMZ * Don Juan Dracula * Donavon Frankenreiter * Donny Goines * Donovan Quinn & the 13th Month * Doug Gillard * Doug Paisley * Drag On * Dragons of Zynth * The Dreadful Yawns * Dred Scott Trio * Dri * Duchess Says * Dujeous * The Duke Spirit * Dungen * Duquette Johnston * Dust Jacket * The Dutchess & The Duke * Dynah * Eagle Seagull * Earth Eater * Ebony Bones * Eclectic Method * Ecstatic Sunshine * Edan The DJ/Egon * The Egg * El Jezel * The Element * Elephone * Eli Escobar * Elizabeth ! * Elizabeth Willis * Elk City * Ellen Cherry * The Emeralds * Emillio Rojas * Emily Simone * Emmy the Great * Empire ISIS * The End Of The World * Endless Boogie * The Envy Corps * Envy On the Coast * Eren Cannata * Erin Sax Seymour * Esso * Etan * The Ettes * The Ettes * Eugene Franicis Jr. and The Juniors * Eulogies * Eulogies * Eve to Adam * everybody out * Everybodyfields * Evidence * Evidence * Ex Norwegian * Ex Reverie * Excepter * Experimental Dental School * Ezekiel Honigc * Ezra Furman and the Harpoons * Fake Problems * Fanfarlo * Fastest Rapper Alive Contest * Faunts * Favourite Sons * Fear Nuttin Band * Festival * Fiasco * Fight Bite * Fighting With Wire * Figo * Finn Riggins * The Fire and Reason * Fires of Rome * First Cousin * Five Finger Death Punch * Flying * Folk and Stress * Forever * The Forms * Four Trips Ahead * Frances * Francis & The Lights * Franki Chan * Freakwent Flyahs * Free Sol * Free Sol * French Horn Rebellion (FHR) * Fresh Daily w/ special guest P.Casso * Fresh Kills * The Friday Night Boys * Friendly Fires * Friendly Fires (DJ set) * Front Page * Frontier Ruckus * Fujiya & Miyagi * G-spot * Game Rebellion * Gang Gang Dance * Gangi * The Gay Blades * George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars * Gerd Baier and Phillip Gutbrod * Ghost Front * Gigantic * Gillen & Turk * Gilles Vonsattel * The Giraffes * The Giraffes * Girls Like Cigarettes * giveamanakick * The Glad Version * Glasser * Gliss * Global Hip-Hop Throwdown hosted by Pharoahe Monch * Go Motion * God Forbid * Goes Cube * Gold Streets * Good Times Crisis Band * Goodbye Picasso * The GoStation * Graeme K. * Grafh & Prinz * Graham MacRae * Grammar Debate * Grammer Debate * Grand Avenue * The Grand March * Great Lakes * Greg Camp * Gregory Miles Harris * Greycoats * Gringo Star * Gringo Star * The Grip Weeds * Growing * Ha Ha Tonka * Haale * Hackman * Haircut * Hakim * The Handcuffs * Happy Anarchy * The Happy Hollows * The Hard Lessons * Havok * HeartsRevolution * Heathers * Heavy Hands * Hecuba * Heidi Happy * Heist at Hand * The Helio Sequence * Heloise and the Savoir Faire * Henny C * Hermit Thrushes * Hexes & Ohs * Hey Rosetta! 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Shit! Tiger! 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It’s insane, it’s nuts, it’s crazy, and I’ve no doubt it’s gonna be fantastic. If all that music wasn’t enough, there are panels and film fun to keep you entertained as well. Talk about a humdinger.

The Untitled Interview #13: Starring Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene)

We here at Les Enfants Terribles don't agree on everything, it'd be a little boring if we did after all, but one thing we can both get behind is that there sure is a lot of good music being made by our good neighbors to the north (in other words, we heart Canadians). Bearing that in mind, it made perfect sense to us to get some answers from one of Canada's best and biggest exports, Broken Social Scene.

The stars are all good and perfectly aligned for two local BSS shows, tomorrow night in Richmond and Wednesday in DC (ok, actually in Northern VA, but close enough), and we Terribles will both be representing in our respective cities. To celebrate, and encourage you heartily to venture out into the delicious fall evening and join us, we excitedly present the Untitled Interview starring Mr. Brendan Canning, who is himself celebrating a delightful (albeit prematurely released) solo album. As a little bonus, you'll find an audio treat below. And because he's such a BSS nut, Terrible Chris has thrown in a couple questions of his own. Enjoy.

Les Enfants Terribles: How the hell are you?
Brendan Canning: Today, good.

LET: What was the last song you listened to?
BC: The record shop I was just in was playing Canned Heat.

LET: Playing music is ___
BC: Going to delay my groin injury from healing.

LET: What album most made you realize that you wanted to make
music?
BC: KISS - Destroyer

LET: Beatles or Stones?
BC: Zeppelin.

LET: What're your top 5 albums?
BC: Today-
Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
John Coltrane - Giant Steps
Slayer - Reign in Blood
Neil Young - Everybody Knows This is Nowhere
Boards of Canada - Music Has the Right to Children

LET: Favorite music-related movie?
BC: 8 Mile.

LET: What city or venue would you like to play, but haven't
yet been to?
BC: Rio de Janeiro.

LET: Half-full or half-empty?
BC: What day is it?

LET: Apart from your band, which of your peers do you think is
making the best music these days?
BC: Are Wilco my peers?

LET: Favorite thing about Toronto?
BC: Kensington Market.

LET: What's the first thing you think when you wake up in
the morning?
BC: Do I really need to get out of bed today?

LET: The greatest record store in the world is:
BC: Rotate this.

LET: What's the longest flight you've ever been on, and
where were you going?
BC: Toronto to Auckland-21 hours or so.

LET: Shaken or stirred?
BC: Tequila, lime and soda.

LET: What do you think is the secret to longevity as it relates
to bands?
BC: Have something else that makes you money. Or write a massive hit and then take a five year hiatus. If you've ever seen the movie Supertroopers, remember: desperation is a stinky cologne. (it's on in the bus right now.)

LET: If you weren't in a band, you'd be:
BC: Off of this bus.

LET: Best song ever written?
BC: “Pink moon” - Nick Drake.

Terrible Chris: Greatest Canadian band of all time? Greatest American?
BC: Rush. Talking Heads.

TC: Who's going to win the Stanley Cup this season?
BC: Who cares. Unless the Leafs start winning I could give a shit.

TC: Crosby or Ovechkin?
BC: ??

mp3: Brendan Canning - Hit the Wall


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

At the Cinema: The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour Memories

Hello, my name is Megan, and I’m a sucker for rock docs.

The latest installment in this mild infatuation of mine is the nostalgia-laden look at one of rock history’s most unusual roadtrips, “The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour Memories”. And while it’s well known that I prefer the Stones in musical realms, there’s no denying the overwhelming power of the Beatles when it comes to myths and legends and lore.

Sure, this documentary isn’t a big-budget affair. You’re not going to see the surviving Beatles sitting down for candid interviews about their “Magical Mystery Tour” experiences. But instead, it’s full of what you might never have thought of - the memories of others: press officers, family, journalists, and locals who found themselves in the fantastical path of that wacky yellow bus and those four legendary Liverpudlian boys. You’ll hear from Paul’s brother about the beginnings of the movie, and the local eggman of Newquay who had his van photographed by the Beatles.

It’s also an informative flick: I for one never knew where and why the name Death Cab for Cutie came from, but now I (and you) can rest easy. It’s a song by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, chosen to be in the “Magical Mystery Tour” movie by John Lennon. Either that, or the DCFC boys saw the same vintage true crime mag that inspired the Bonzo boys. Either way, it all appeals to the music history nerd in me.

Through rarely seen images and video clips, and radio interview segments, the film draws a clear picture of the experience not only for the band, but more so for those along for the ride. The one thing that could have been bettered would be the music, as the original versions of the songs were not used (I’m guessing because the price was too high). It’s a small point, though, and all in all, the doc is yet another thing for all you Beatles fans to sink your teeth into.


The Untitled Interview #12: Starring Paul Draper (ex-Mansun)

When I was 17 and firmly entrenched in the belief that any band from Britain was far better than any band from anywhere else, there was one band that really wowed me, really knocked my socks off, more than any other. That band was Mansun. Here was a band, I reckoned, that had “it,” something very special. They concocted songs about a fantastically twisted sort of British life, slightly sinister modern folk tales gone awry about stripping vicars and the like. Everything they did was done with panache, and even when the ferociously fickle music press was abouting face and doling out low blows, Mansun kept churning out great music, to the delight of their fanatical fanbase.

Six, the album which from what I remember did not fare well critically, still sounds remarkably ahead of its time even today, ten years after its release. I loved it then, and I love it possibly even more now. If you’ve never given a listen, there’s no time like the present to make amends. Paul Draper, Mansun’s former frontman and songwriter, has kept on making music of his own. You can and should give him a listen, too, and check his blog for updates and musings. In the spirit of Six’s tenth anniversary, I asked Paul some questions. After reading what he’s got to say, check out a clip of his favorite song to perform, taken from the V2000 festival.

Les Enfants Terribles: How the hell are you?
Paul Draper: Very good thanks. A bit tired from recording, but apart from that, relatively healthy.

LET: What was the last song you listened to?
PD: I listened to the Elbow album this afternoon, Seldom Seen Kid. Can’t remember what the last track was I listened to on it.

LET: The 10th Anniversary of Six is upon us. How do you think the album has aged, and are as happy with it now as you were then?
PD: I listened to it for the first time to jog my memory for the blog. It doesn’t sound ten years old. I don’t remember being too happy with it at the time but it sounded good when I listened back to it.

LET: Playing music is _________.
PD: A vocation I think. I don’t know why I’m compelled to do it, it’s something about getting something from the inside to the outside I think. Also it’s cathartic for me, lyrically that is.

LET: What album most made you realize that you wanted to make music?
PD: I think some of the Prince albums from Dirty Mind to Parade, I was amazed how he put his records together.

LET: Beatles or Stones?
PD: Beatles. I loved the Beatles when I was a kid and owned every track on vinyl, they were my first obsession as I was a song lover, not a band lover. I’ve grown much fonder of the Stones over the years though.

LET: What're your top 5 albums (of this minute, this year, or ever)?
PD: Kate Bush - Lionheart
Beatles - Abbey Road
Prince - Purple Rain
QOTSA - Songs for the Deaf
Sex Pistols - Never Mind the Bollocks

LET: Favorite music-related movie?
PD: "Purple Rain" or "Spinal Tap".

LET: What’s your favorite song to perform in concert?
PD: “Wide Open Space”.

LET: How many instruments do you play (proficiently and/or recreationally)?
PD: I’m crap at all of ‘em!! but have turned my hand to everything on record.

LET: Please explain your typical (if there is such a thing) songwriting process, and how you know when a song is ready:
PD: I mess around with chords and hum over them and collect all the ideas on a dictaphone. Then I glue ‘em all together in a structure then get my notebook out, by this time I have an idea for the lyrical direction and I make it work with the music.

LET: Half-full or half-empty?
PD: I used to be a half-empty person, but now I’m a half-full person, or trying to be.

LET: Apart from you, of course, who among your peers do you think is making the best music these days?
PD: Hmm, I like the Elbow and Radiohead albums and I like the last Joana Newsom album.

LET: What's the first thing you think when you wake up in the morning?
PD: I always go over events from the past, square them up and get on with things.

LET: The greatest record store in the world is:
PD: Cob Records in North Wales.

LET: What do you think of the beast we know as the music industry these days? And how does it differ from the days when Mansun was first releasing music?
PD: Well it’s more difficult to become massive because it’s all so fractured nowadays, but it’s easier to do your own thing because you can get your music out via the net very easily these days.

LET: What's the longest flight you've ever been on?
PD: One time going to Tokyo the airplane had to make an emergency landing at a military base, we couldn’t get off because there was no immigration, then the flight crew had to be changed as we'd been on the plane too long. Finally, when they got a new crew flown to the base and we did the last half hour of the flight to the airport we'd been on the plane a day and a half without getting off.

LET: Shaken or stirred?
PD: Shaken, only coz that’s how Bond has it.

LET: Best song ever written?
PD: “Man with the Child in his Eyes”, Kate Bush, that’s just for today.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Untitled Interview #11: Starring Hardy Morris (Dead Confederate)

This might be the first time Dead Confederate is making an appearance on LET, but I can guarantee you it won't be the last. Ever since first hearing the stunning, swirling nouveau psychrock drenched with backwoods moonshine of the Athens droners on WOXY many weeks ago, I've been pretty severely into them. The band is currently working hard and spreading their good word across the land, and will hold court (somewhat) locally in Baltimore on the 13th, with a Richmond date soon to follow. I strongly suggest if you're anywhere near one of their shows you go see what all the hullabaloo is about, because Dead Confederate is thisclose to blowing up something huge.

For your reading pleasure, I present to you the results of the when Megan sent mouthpiece Hardy Morris some questions. True, he cheated on the Beatles/Stones question, but our shared love of Radiohead means I can overlook it. You can also take a peek at Dead Confederate tearing it up something fierce live, with "The Rat," as a means to further whet your appetite.

Les Enfants Terribles: How the hell are you?
Hardy Morris: I am just fine.

LET: What was the last song you listened to?
HM: “Coast to Coast” by Elliott Smith.

LET: Playing music is ___
HM: The only thing I'm decent at.

LET: What album most made you realize that you wanted to make music?
HM: Harvest by Neil Young.

LET: Beatles or Stones?
HM: Neil Young.

LET: What're your top 5 albums?
HM: These were the most influential....
Harvest (Neil Young)
Dirty (Sonic Youth)
On the Beach (Neil Young)
OK Computer (Radiohead)
Bleach (Nirvana)

LET: Favorite music-related movie?
HM: "Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii".

LET: What city or venue would you like to play, but haven't yet been to?
HM: Amsterdam dude.

LET: Half-full or half-empty?
HM: Whichever.

LET: Apart from your band, which of your peers do you think is making the best music these days?
HM: I couldn't call them my peers, but Radiohead is obviously heads, shoulders, and miles ahead of the curve (that they already created!). It's very inspiring and humbling at the same time. Perfect.

LET: What's the first thing you think when you wake up in the morning?
HM: "Need water!"

LET: The greatest record store in the world is:
HM: Wuxtry in Athens, GA man!!

LET: What's the longest flight you've ever been on, and where were you going?
HM: Flight to Seattle I guess.

LET: Favorite Dead Confederate?
HM: Never thought about it.

LET: Shaken or stirred?
HM: Whatever's quicker.

LET: If Dead Confederate was a drink, what would be in it?
HM: Bourbon and blood.

LET: If you weren't in a band, you'd be:
HM: Helping good bands and throwing shows.

LET: A tire blows on your van. Who's changing it, and how do you come to this decision?
HM: Whoever is awake and sober. Because they are awake and sober.

LET: Which feels better: leaving to go on tour, or coming home from a tour?
HM: Leaving for sure.

LET: Best song ever written?
HM: “Flesh Colored Canvas” (Dead Confederate).




[Photo by Skylar Reeves, via DC's Myspace]

Monday, October 6, 2008

Whither Festivus: All Tomorrow’s Parties 2008 Review

Somewhere, deep within New York’s Catskill Mountains, time has stopped. There, as the sun beats down golden and tranquil, among the idyll of leafy trees and quiet, clear air, it is not 2008, but more akin to 1975. The glory of nature is matched only by the sheer surreality of the once-yearly spectacle known as All Tomorrow’s Parties, a Rock’n’Roll summer camp unlike anything I’ve ever encountered, or are likely to encounter again (until next year, that is!). I’m here to tell you that ATP08 was by far the best show of 2008, and might just be the best show I’ve ever been to.

All Tomorrow’s Parties is not a new concert concept. While most of us probably first think of the Velvet Underground song, ATP has been putting on festivals for years and years now. ATP08 was the initial foray into New York, and what a first time it was. Between the lineup, the setting, and the time warp of venue/hotel, it was as close to perfect as a festival could ever hope to be.

We started the day (night, more accurately, as it was pretty late by the time we got to the site at Kutsher’s) in a giant ballroom with spectacular houndstooth wallpaper, celestial themed walls, and oh yes, Thurston Moore. The most incredible thing (if I had to choose one) about the festival is that in such a small space, such great acts were gathered, and you could wander to and fro and see amazing act after amazing act. So after a few Thurston numbers, we ventured to the smaller Stage Two and took in some of Patton Oswalt’s hilarity. After some drinking and some strolling around the site, we hopped on our chariot (the big yellow bus, oh yes) and went back to the Raleigh, our home sweet home for the weekend. Several hours of drinking followed.

Days Two and Three were equally as ridiculous. I’m still, a couple weeks out, rendered into stunned speechlessness about the quality of the bands, so instead, here’s who I saw…Day Two: Growing, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra, Wooden Shjips, Harmonia, Alexander Tucker, Les Savy Fav; Day Three: My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr., Lilys, Mercury Rev, Mogwai, Spectrum, The Wounded Knees. All were beyond fantastic. I’d say that the two winners of the weekend, for me, were My Bloody Valentine (as if there was any doubt), and Mercury Rev. It had been about ten years since I had seen the Rev, and they rocked my world something fierce. And what can you say about MBV? I lost count of how many times my jaw dropped, and despite wearing earplugs, my hearing was off for days after returning to Richmond.

It was a mad, mad, mad, mad weekend. The music was non-stop and top-notch. The festival-goers were the cream of the crop, the best patrons I’ve ever seen at a rock show. Hell, we even ran into some fellow Richmonders. The site defies explanation, the madcap wallpaper and the Deep End bar and the playground…it was the most fun you will possibly have at a festival. No rushing to stages seemingly on opposite ends of the Earth, instead you need merely glide from one end of the hotel to another. No excessive heat causing copious amounts of sweat as you sunburn the day away outdoors, instead the fresh mountain air is there when you choose to venture outside. And the bands, o, the bands. It would take a miracle to come up with a more impressive roster of bands, especially given the size of the festival.

In short, my hat is off the to wonderful people who put together such a killer festival. I can’t wait to see what ATPNY09 will bring. If you're interested, and you really ought to be, tickets are already on sale for next year. Sure, there's been no bands announced yet, but trust me, it'll be the best concert of next year no matter who's on the bill.

[photos of Kutsher's, Wooden Shjips, and Mercury Rev. All by Megan Petty]

Friday, October 3, 2008

Live Review: Brothers and Sisters @ DC9, September 14

We’ve all been at these shows, the ones where a band we know is great is playing but the crowd is what you might refer to as sparse, the shows where you know you’re seeing something people in a few months will be kicking themselves for not going to, the kind of show where you scratch your head and wonder where everyone is. So it was with the Brothers and Sisters show at DC9. Not that it was empty, mind, but the attendance was rather thin. And frankly, that’s a shame, because those of you who weren’t there missed a great, great set from one of my favorite Austin bands.

Brothers and Sisters is rapidly becoming one of my pet bands, and I was intrigued as to how they would turn out live. I am pleased to report that the Courtney sibling-led band is even better in the flesh than in recorded form, which endeared them to me even more than before the show (after all, I do so love a band that’s better live). Whether it was a sweet version of the ever-so-charming “One Night,” newer songs from album Fortunately like “Mason City,” “The Wind,” or “You’re Gone,” or a fantastic, twanged out folktastic cover of America’s classic “Sister Golden Hair,” Brothers and Sisters’ earthy, earnest country was a glorious aural experience. The tandem of Will and Lily Courtney’s boy-girl vocals was warm and rich, the steel guitar more poignant, and the overall set was better than I had hoped. Between songs, Will’s somewhat bashful banter was adorably endearing, and the whole of the band exuded a down home affability that made the songs somehow even more likeable. Song after song was a treasure, and it was obvious that this is a band that loves and believes in what they’re doing.

And at the risk of sounding overly trite, I believe in them too, and I sure do hope that the next time Brothers and Sisters roll into your town you’ll go. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.